Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee became the latest US politician to announce he is running for president yesterday.
In doing so, Huckabee joined an ever-growing list of Republicans seeking their party’s nomination in the 2016 presidential contest. Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio have all thrown their hats into the ring, as have former HP chief executive Carly Fiorina and paediatric surgeon Ben Carson.
For the Democrats, only senator Bernie Sanders and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton have declared their intention to run.
Huckabee, a staunch social conservative and former Baptist pastor who most recently hosted an opinion-based television programme on the Fox News Channel, made his formal announcement in Hope, Arkansas, the small town where former president Bill Clinton was also born.
Huckabee said that if elected he would change government policies to focus more on the economic circumstances of average Americans.
He took a strong stance on foreign policy, saying he would change the US approach to the so-called Islamic State by “conquering” the group.
“We will deal with jihadis just like we deal with deadly snakes,” he said.
Huckabee also promised unwavering US support for Israel and rejected negotiations with Iran.
“Hell will freeze over” before Iran gets a nuclear weapon, he said.
Huckabee first ran for president in 2008, when he garnered attention for a surprise win at the Iowa caucuses, traditionally the first contest in the American presidential nominating process. Huckabee failed to secure the nomination, however, which ultimately went to senator John McCain.