MONROE – As Mike Huckabee and Mark Harris took photos with dozens of well-wishers at an early voting site Oct. 24 at the Union County Public Library, a woman quipped about the large crowd at the event.
Huckabee was quick to respond.
“If I had had these types of crowds, I would be president,” Huckabee said with a laugh.
Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and two-time presidential candidate, seemed at home on the campaign trail as he supported his good friend and fellow pastor Harris. Huckabee was a Baptist preacher in Arkansas before entering politics.
Harris, the former pastor at First Baptist Church of Charlotte, is in a tight battle with Democratic candidate Dan McCready for a congressional seat Republicans have held for over five decades. Election day is Nov. 6 but early voting began Oct. 17. Harris and Huckabee made four stops Oct. 24 across the district.
Huckabee and his wife, Janet, became friends with the Harris family about 10 years ago, and the former governor said Harris has what it takes to be an effective congressman.
“First of all, he has lived a life that has given him connection to people at their best and worst moments,” Huckabee said. “People don’t think about this. A pastor sees every aspect of human life from the cradle to the grave. A pastor is with people at their toughest moments and at their very best.
“Nobody is better prepared to make decisions that affect the lives of people than a pastor does. Dealing with opioids, dealing with poverty, struggling with any kind of issue that affects the family, financial pressures and the impact that has on people, these are the people on the front lines that understand these issues and not abstractly but concretely.”
Last month, Lara Trump, who is President Trump’s daughter-in-law, made several appearances around the district for Harris, including one in Union County, and the candidate said the county will play a pivotal role in who wins on Nov. 6.
“Union County is one of those places where when you talk about where we are in the Bible Belt, you almost feel that Union County has to be the buckle when you think about this stretch of North Carolina,” Harris said. “Having Gov. Huckabee here means the world to us. I think the conservative values and principles that Gov. Huckabee represents just fit beautifully for what is in Union County. I believe I am the candidate that fits those values more than my opponent.”
Huckabee said he has seen a surge in enthusiasm for Republicans not only in the 9th Congressional District but across the country as election day looms. He said President Trump deserves the credit.
“People are fired up,” Huckabee said. “What people have seen over the past two years from President Trump is more money in our paychecks, respect of law, respect of law enforcement, a true appreciation for the sovereignty of America. What we have seen from the Democrats is open borders, raise taxes, disrespect law enforcement.
“This is a district that is very, very vital to being able to keep the House. It’s why I am here and it is why my wife was here a month ago. President Trump is coming here. The President says it well, ‘It is jobs or mobs.’ People need to look and say, ‘What kind of future do you want for the country?’”
Huckabee said he is proud of the work that his daughter, Sarah Sanders, does as President Trump’s press secretary. Many of the people that greeted Huckabee praised his daughter’s work for President Trump.
“She is tough, and she can handle it,” Huckabee said. “People ask, ‘do you get nervous when you see your daughter walk into the press room?’ I’m nervous, but I’m nervous for those reporters who are about to get their heads handed to them because they think they are going to take her down. They don’t realize what a tough cookie she is.”