(Reuters) – Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a potential Republican candidate for president in 2016, has decided to leave his weekly Fox News program, he announced on Facebook on Saturday.
In the Facebook posting, Huckabee, who ran for the White House in 2008, said he will not decide until late spring whether he will pursue another presidential bid but acknowledged there has been “continued chatter” that he might.
Fox News has previously ended contracts with national figures considering presidential campaigns.
“The honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here at Fox, so I can openly talk with potential donors and supporters and gauge support,” Huckabee said.
“So as we say in television, stay tuned!” he added.
Huckabee has been in the middle of the Republican pack in preliminary national opinion polls. He chose not to run for the White House in 2012 after briefly enjoying frontrunner status during the 2008 Republican nominating contest.
The former pastor won the influential Iowa caucuses that year and he remains popular among conservative evangelical Christian voters.
Huckabee, governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, is set to release a book titled, “God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy” later in January. He spent part of late 2014 shoring up his foreign policy credentials with a European trip.
Should he pursue a White House bid, Huckabee would join former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as a major Republican name considering a run. No other likely contender has announced his or her plans, but the party’s field is expected to be wide and varied as Republicans look to replace Democrat Barack Obama.
(Additional reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)