State GOP chairman heads Huckabee team

The chairman of the state Republican party announced today that he'll head the Minnesota campaign of GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee.

Ron Carey says he's been quietly supporting Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign for a year. Four days after Huckabee's convincing win in the Iowa caucuses, Carey went public with his preference. He also unveiled a list of other prominent Minnesota Republicans who've joined the Huckabee team. Carey said Huckabee is the best of a stellar group of GOP candidates.

"He really has an opportunity to rebuild a coalition of average Americans, just like Ronald Reagan did, and bring us together with hope and opportunity, yet at the same time not compromising our conservative values that make the Republican Party what it is," Carey said.

Carey says he doesn't know if Huckabee will visit Minnesota before the February 5th precinct caucuses.

The move is unusual but Carey says the state party bylaws allow him to give his early support to a presidential candidate.

"I'm going to take some hits for this," Carey said. "But I truly believe in the long haul that this is the best thing for the Republican party to have a viable campaign for Mike Huckabee. And I think he's the candidate that has the best chance to lead up to success in November."

But a co-chair of Mitt Romney's Minnesota campaign criticized the move. Brian Sullivan said Carey would be better served helping all Republicans rather than one particular candidate.

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