Iowa Conservatives Give Huckabee A Second Look

DES MOINES, IOWA - Mike Huckabee is quietly establishing himself with Iowa voters as a serious candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

Huckabee's success thus far in Iowa has raised the question: Can he overcome his rivals' advantages?  He doesn't have the money of Mitt Romney, the celebrity of Rudy Giuliani or the personal history of John McCain.

Iowa conservative activists say Huckabee may be able to win second place behind Romney.

The former Arkansas governor has a message that resonates with many Iowans.  He is an ordained Baptist minister whose opposition to abortion and gay rights appeals to social and religious conservatives, and he has a personal history of losing more than 100 pounds that has helped him form his stand on health care.

In August, Huckabee finished second to Romney in a high-profile Iowa GOP straw poll.  Analysts say Huckabee's main liability is his inability thus far to raise cash for his campaign.  But Huckabee says that doesn't matter because conservative voters are looking for a candidate with his credentials.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)