ORLANDO, FLA. -- Running late after attending the 40th annual commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday in Atlanta, Mike Huckabee headed straight from the plane to the parking lot of the airport with an upbeat message for the reporters and supporters who were waiting for him.
"We plan to have a very exciting time in Florida. We know where we are but we also want to make everybody know we plan no Mickey Mouse campaign in Florida," Huckabee said.
But Huckabee is less sure-footed in Florida. He showed he had no Mickey Mouse delusions of winning here when a reporter reminded Huckabee that a recent poll showed him placing fourth in the state.
Huckabee replied, "One of the things that we are learning is that this is not a win one state and then the process is over. I'm second in the delegate count as of today. Winning Florida would be great, but winning the nomination is what our main target is. And it's pretty clear that nobody is going to have this wrapped up by Florida. And it's looking even probably as clear that no one may have it wrapped up by February 5th."
Odds are against Huckabee's favor in Florida, where the winner would take all 57 delegates, the largest prize so far this primary season. Huckabee has the endorsement of Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio and has courted the Cuban American vote in the area, but he is hugely outspent and underorganized in this state. The campaign opened its first Florida office last week. Huckabee was the third GOP candidate, following Romney and Giuliani, to visit the Orlando area today.
He's holding a fundraiser and meeting local religious leaders here tonight. But today and tomorrow, he is spending nearly an equal amount of time in Georgia. Huckabee is back in Atlanta tomorrow for an anti-abortion rights rally on the steps of the state capitol.
If winning Florida would be expensive, so is waging a multiple state strategy of winning delegtes. In a sign of a cash-strapped infrastructure, the campaign is no longer arranging travel for the press corps that has been following the candidate.