Huckabee rallies support in Topeka

Huckabee rallies support in Topeka


If you support John McCain, don’t ask Mike Huckabee who the next president of the United States will be.

He’s still convinced he has a chance.

Huckabee made a visit to Kansas Friday to encourage voters in Wichita, Olathe, Topeka and Garden City to go out and vote at the caucuses Saturday.

“If you’re going to go to the caucuses and vote for me (Saturday), don’t let anything keep you from it,” he said at a rally held at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center in Topeka. “On the other hand, if you’re a person who is not going to vote for me, there’s no point in going.”

And that’s exactly what Kansas voters did – showed up to the caucuses to vote for Huckabee.

One such voter was sophomore Adam O’Trimble who went to the Jefferson County Republican Caucus held in the American Legion in Ozawkie.

“I think it was kind of just a chance to show that the Conservatives in the party do have a voice,” O’Trimble said about voting in the Kansas GOP caucus. “The Conservatives are what give the party its power, and as a Conservative, I wanted to stand up and say that we’re not going to go with this blindly just because McCain is the frontrunner.”

Huckabee claimed all 36 of the total delegates tied to Saturday’s caucus in Kansas, despite media criticism claiming the odds were against him to receive the Republican bid for president.

“Kansas is majority Republican. It’s one of those weird Republican states where the party differs,” sophomore Casey Smith said. “I know just from politics and talking to people that he technically doesn’t have a mathematical chance to get the presidential nomination, but it’s a good stepping stone for him. I’m glad Kansas just didn’t follow the pack and vote for McCain because he’s the frontrunner.”

Even Huckabee knows he has a lot of ground to make up.

“(Saturday) when you go to the caucuses and the country finds out that Kansas is behind Mike Huckabee, and that their whole idea of who’s going to be the next president has been wrong yet again, you’ll be helping me do something my dad would never have imagined,” Huckabee, who served as the 44th governor of Arkansas for 10 1/2 years, said. “That’s being on my way to becoming the 44th president of the United States of America.”

But Huckabee, who had only 217 delegates compared to McCain’s 827 as of Wednesday, isn’t about to let the numbers stop him from trying.

“Mitt Romney dropped out and left a two-man field, and a lot people are asking, ‘Why do you stay in?'” Huckabee said. “I think elections are about choices.”

Even still, some Baker University students are choosing not to follow Huckabee’s campaign, with or without Romney in the race.

“I was supporting Rudy Giuliani,” Tricia Wernette, president of the College Republicans organization, said. “I did some work on his campaign, and felt like he was the best candidate.”

That didn’t stop more than 400 people from attending the rally in Topeka, where Huckabee addressed taxes, small businesses, the military and corruption within the government.

“One of the reasons that I would suggest I’d be a better candidate for president than anybody else who is running is because I don’t have a Washington address,” Huckabee said. “I happen to know what it feels like to live in the real world where real people face real problems.”

Speaking of real people, Kansans for Life showed its support for Huckabee’s cause by carrying signs saying, “Pro-life, Pro-family, Pro-Mike.”

“It’s an issue that is not a political one,” Huckabee said about his position on abortion. “For me, I did not become pro-life because of politics. I got into politics as a pro-life person who believes that this issue will define how future generations will view us.”

But Wernette thinks Huckabee’s position on abortion is too strict, and she’s hoping for a Republican candidate who is less conservative.

“I feel like McCain has a lot of similar goals as Giuliani,” she said. “I think our country has more to worry about like this war, so my stance on abortion is not as strong as Huckabee’s.”

O’Trimble doesn’t feel the same way, saying only that McCain is a fake Conservative.

“McCain seems really slimy to me,” he said. “I don’t think he has the record of conservativeness that he’s trying to campaign. He’s trying to be a Conservative when he’s really not, and I don’t care for that.”