Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
He hopes to get support from evangelical Christians who put emphasis on social issues like opposition to abortion and gay marriage, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Speaking on Tuesday in his birthplace of Hope, Arkansas, Huckabee said: “We need the kind of change that really could get America from hope to higher ground.”
He said US leadership in the world had “completely evaporated” and accused the administration of President Barack Obama of being “more dysfunctional than ever” and too beholden to the wealthy.
Huckabee’s announcement came shortly after retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina formally entered the Republican race, making it one of the most crowded in decades, the newspaper said.
Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky have also joined the fray.
In his speech, the winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses challenged his Republican rivals who are currently holding government office to have the “integrity and decency to resign the one you don’t want anymore” while pursuing the presidency.
Commenting on same-sex marriage, an issue that is now before the Supreme Court, Huckabee said the high court “cannot overturn the laws of nature or of nature’s God”.
He also sought to portray himself as an outsider who would never win favor with the “Washington-to-Wall Street corridor of power”.
Huckabee, 59, said his campaign is more likely to be funded by “working people across America” than by billionaires.
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