Published On: Wed, Feb 3rd, 2016

Mike Huckabee, Martin O’Malley drop out of presidential race

Martin O’Malley and Mike Huckabee ended their presidential campaigns after failing to register a strong showing in the Iowa caucuses.

The two former governors failed to gain traction against better-funded operations and an election season marked by voter desire for anti-establishment candidates.

“This fight continues,” O’Malley said at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. “We fought very, very hard in order to give the people a choice, and the people made their choice tonight.”

The former Maryland governor used his speech to push for greater gun control, action to address climate change, equal pay for women and other efforts to address income inequality. He expressed gratitude to his supporters and the people of Iowa, but took aim at the “racist and fascist rhetoric of Donald Trump.”

“We have to hold strong to the values that make us Americans,” said O’Malley as his family stood by his side. “And that, too, was what this tough fight was about.”

Mike Huckabee photo/ donkeyhotey

Mike Huckabee photo/ donkeyhotey

O’Malley did not endorse a candidate as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were locked in a virtual tie in the first-in-the-nation voting state.

Huckabee, meanwhile, the winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses, thanked his supporters on Twitter.

“I am officially suspending my campaign,” the former Arkansas governor tweeted. “Thank you for all your loyal support. #ImWithHucK”

Huckabee’s decision to suspend the campaign was not planned, but after seeing the results he decided it was best to step out of the race.

Huckabee joked with supporters that he was ending the campaign because of illness: “Voters are sick of me.”

“He is going to continue to push for the issues he believes, but right now this is about thanking his staff and supporters and being with his friends and families and see what doors will open next,” said Hogan Gidley, Huckabee’s spokesman.

After Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign sputtered out despite his win in Iowa, Huckabee joined Fox News and hosted a weekend program. He passed on another campaign in 2012, and left Fox News early in 2015.

Huckabee also expressed frustration with the rise of political “outsiders” with little or no experience in government.

“Of all the election cycles I’ve been involved in, this has been one of the most bewildering,” Huckabee said in January in Urbandale, Iowa. “Because it’s almost as if the more experience, the more preparation one has had for this job, it’s almost like it’s a detriment than it is an asset.”

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