This is the third installment of '16 And President, the Huffington Post series on the candidates running for president and the campaigns they're running.
FLORENCE, S.C. -- You probably won’t be shocked to learn that the deeply religious Mike Huckabee purports never to have doubted his belief in the existence of God. It may surprise you, however, to hear him express some skepticism about the profundity of a man many consider to be musical divinity: Bob Dylan.
During a recent day on the campaign trail, the bass-playing former Arkansas governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate opened up on topics ranging from Dylan’s popularity to how he’s preparing to handle Donald Trump in Thursday’s highly anticipated GOP debate in Cleveland.
Though presidential candidates typically rack up hundreds of thousands of miles crisscrossing the country, life on the trail can also be a hyper-localized endeavor. Case in point: Huckabee, who spent this particular day on the trail entirely within the confines of Florence, South Carolina, a city that boasts fewer than 40,000 residents.
Florence may be the largest city in the memorably named “Pee Dee” region that forms the northeast corner of the Palmetto State, but it’s not exactly South Carolina’s most famous locale. That someone seeking the nation’s highest office would devote so much time and effort to winning over voters in one small city in one mid-sized state demonstrates the extent to which South Carolina is an essential piece of Huckabee’s electoral puzzle.
During his first White House run in 2008, Huckabee lost the first-in-the-South primary to eventual Republican nominee John McCain by just 3 points — a result that may well have swung the entire GOP contest, had it gone the other way.
As with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — the subjects of the first two episodes of ’16 And President — Huckabee’s affable personality and strong retail politicking skills were on full display throughout our day on the trail with him.
And while Huckabee has long shown a penchant for generating headlines with comments that appear designed to do just that, throughout our day with him he was eager to engage in extended conversations that showcased a more nuanced profile of the staunch social conservative.
Watch the video above for the latest installment of the HuffPost series, '16 And President.
Story by Scott Conroy
Video produced by Samuel Wilkes
Cinematography by Samuel Wilkes and Jon Strauss
Associate production by Marielle Olentine