Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS) has announced that he will not be making a run for the presidency in 2012. Barbour’s announcement will be disappointing for many fiscal and social conservatives who viewed Barbour as a favorite to take on President Obama. In his statement Barbour said that a run for the presidency would require a ten-year commitment, Barbour must have been assuming two years of campaigning and eight years in the White House. Barbour stated he could not make this commitment, or ask others to make this commitment without an “absolute fire in the belly.” After doing some self-reflection, Barbour concluded he did not have this “fire in the belly.” Barbour’s full statement can be read below:
“I will not be a candidate for president next year. This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided.
Hundreds of people have encouraged me to run and offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign. Many volunteers have organized events in support of my pursuing the race. Some have dedicated virtually full time to setting up preliminary organizations in critical, early states and to helping plan what has been several months of intensive activity.
I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts. If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it.
A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else. His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.
This decision means I will continue my job as Governor of Mississippi, my role in the Republican Governors Association and my efforts to elect a new Republican president in 2012, as the stakes for the nation require that effort to be successful.”
Barbour was one of the most experienced potential GOP candidates, serving as Governor of Mississippi since 2003 and chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association since 2009. Before that Barbour served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1993 to 1997. Barbour was in charge in Mississippi during the Katrina disaster which would have potentially helped him with voters. Barbour also would have had numerous fundraising connections from his past positions.
Barbour’s announcement makes what was already seen as a relatively weak GOP presidential field look even worse. The only people happy over Barbour’s decision is his likely competitors such as Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney. Barbour’s endorsement will be a valuable prize for other candidates during the Republican primary season.