Mike Huckabee says unless he places high enough in Iowa, he'll drop out

Mike Huckabee says he'll drop his second bid for the presidency unless he places third or higher in the Iowa caucuses, the first voting contest for the Republican nomination.

"If we can't come within striking distance of the victory or win it, then I think we recognize that it's going to be hard to take that onto the other states," he said Wednesda in a radio interview with Simon Conway.

Huckabee said that amounts to a finish among the top three candidates.

"[H]istorically, we've always said there are three tickets out of Iowa: you have to come in number one, two or three," Huckabee said.

"[T]hat's probably still the case," he continued. "It may be that if you're a close second or a close third, that's very good." However, "If you're a distant third, then maybe there's not a way to go on. I think you have a good, hard look at it after Iowa."

Huckabee has spent much of his campaign in Iowa, where he won the caucuses in 2008. The former Arkansas governor, pastor and TV show host has an average of 2.3 percent support in a Real Clear Politics average of Iowa polls.