Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has announced that he won't seek the Republican nomination for the 2012 presidential election.
In a statement made on his Fox News show, Huckabee said that the decision was not political or financial, but a spiritual one.
"All the factors say 'go,' but my heart says 'no'," he stated.
This was the third high-profile announcement, after Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich revealed last week he would seek the nomination, joining Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas).
And while Huckabee's decision opens a spot for socially conservative candidates to step in, it also leaves a void in the moderate wing of the Republican party, where the former governor is respected.
Columnist and commentator David Frum bemoaned Huckabee's exit, writing on the website CNN.com that despite his "reactionary cultural message," he was "unequaled in showing understanding and regard for those families getting by on incomes of five figures and not six, seven, eight or nine."
For his part, Huckabee hinted at the tough nature of the race that would last some 18 months and the job that potentially lay at the end of it. He said that "under the best of circumstances, being President is a job that takes one to the limit of his or her capacity."