Republican Mike Huckabee, the folksy former governor of Arkansas, will fill a lunchtime speaking slot at the California Republican’s fall convention in Anaheim, officials said Friday.
Huckabee, a favorite of some social conservatives since his 2008 presidential campaign, will appear at the state party’s biannual gathering on Sept. 18, two days after a Republican debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley.
He joins Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the second of 17 GOP presidential hopefuls slated to speak at the convention.
Vying to appear on the main debate stage next week, which is reserved for the 10 highest-polling GOP candidates, Huckabee has engaged in some verbal sparring with President Barack Obama over his nuclear deal with Iran. He criticized the president for marching Israelis “to the door of the oven,” a comment Obama dismissed as “outrageous” and “sad.”
In Iowa on Thursday, Huckabee indicated he could be open to employing the full force of the federal government, including troops, to halt legal abortions. His remarks to a reporter came amid roiling debate over secretly recorded videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing compensation for fetal tissue.
In a prepared statement, Huckabee said he looked forward to addressing GOP activists here.
“I'm excited to be kicking off the California Republican Party convention and helping build excitement and enthusiasm for the great things California Republicans are going to help us accomplish in 2016,” he said.