Mike Huckabee, currently out pimping his "book" (read: presidential campaign preview) titled A Simple Government, told Greenville Online that he would have won the South Carolina Republican Primary in 2008, if not for a "deal" between candidates Fred Thompson and John McCain.
In the primary, McCain was the clear winner, with Huckabee placing second and Thompson third.
According to Greenville Online (apologies if link doesn't work, they always nab me by the end of the day!):
Huckabee, who may run for the White House again, said Thompson had planned to drop out of the presidential race following the New Hampshire primary, but McCain persuaded him to stay in — a move that split the conservative vote in South Carolina and helped deliver the election to McCain....
Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, said Thompson spent most of his South Carolina campaign in Greenville and Spartanburg, a stronghold for Huckabee.Interesting, indeed! If Huckabee had won South Carolina, he would have taken the lead.
Thompson “didn’t have a significant vote, but he had just enough, and our polling showed that it was coming off of me,” Huckabee said. “And it kept me just a couple of points under McCain, and you know the rest is history. But that’s life.”
Huckabee said he doesn’t have any hard feelings “for the deal they made. I know they did it because I’ve had close aides to both of them who told me.”
Campaigns are about winning, so “it’s never been something that I was upset about because I would have done the same thing if I could have,” Huckabee said.
Dean Rice, Thompson’s national campaign manager in 2008, couldn’t be reached, nor could Trey Walker, McCain’s campaign manager in South Carolina that year who now works for Gov. Nikki Haley.
McCain won the support of more than 33 percent of South Carolina Republicans in 2008 on his way to secure the party’s nomination.And YES, friends and neighbors, I plan to be outside the Peace Center on Cinco De Mayo to welcome them in my own special way. (grins)
Huckabee won every county along the Interstate 85 corridor except Oconee, but it wasn’t enough to overcome McCain’s advantage in the rest of the state. Huckabee claimed just under 30 percent of the vote statewide.
Thompson garnered 15.6 percent to take third and push former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney into fourth.
Presidential aspirants tend to pay special attention to South Carolina because of its first-in-the-South primary.
Other Republicans eyeing a White House run who have visited the Upstate in recent months include Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, another potential Republican candidate, spoke in Spartanburg on Saturday.
This year, the Fox News Channel has agreed to televise two GOP presidential debates from South Carolina, the first set for the Peace Center in downtown Greenville on May 5.
I have been chatting with the energetic youth at Suite 8 in Greenville, and some of them will be there also. We may actually have a REAL DEMONSTRATION AGAINST THE GOP DEBATE IN GREENVILLE! ((faints)) That's a bit optimistic here in DeMint country, but I just wanted you to know: talks are underway. We may require a permit. Also, I am quite familiar with the terrain of the Peace Center, and it will be ridiculously easy for them to cordon us off into various alleyways. But I am ON THE CASE, and wanted DEAD AIR denizens to know that!
In addition, DEAD AIR will be blogging the next SC primary and the next election to a bloody fare thee well. STAY TUNED, SPORTS FANS!