Continued from page 2

“Go out and ask those ladies at bake sales or out raising money if they thought that money would end up in the hands of Democratic candidates,” Mr. Hendren said. “That’s what drove us up a wall.”

One Democrat who received CLAPAC money was Barbara Horn. Mr. Huckabee supported her even though a Republican planned to run for the same seat in 2000. The Associated Press reported that Mr. Huckabee’s support for the Democrat chased the Republican from the race, delivering an open seat to the Democratic Party.

State Republicans repeatedly called that race demoralizing.

Mr. Huckabee’s campaign denied charges from a host of Republicans that he aided Democrats over Republicans in other races.

“Governor Huckabee never gave money to a Democrat who had a Republican opponent,” Mr. Harris said. “He did give to some conservative Democrats money in the primaries when there were no Republicans running in the general election.”

Records for CLAPAC’s activity in 2000 are missing from the secretary of state’s office. The accounting firm Mr. Huckabee used said it couldn’t provide records without the client’s approval, and Mr. Huckabee’s campaign didn’t respond to requests to produce them.

In 2005, Mr. Huckabee registered another political action committee in Virginia, which has less stringent limits on campaign activity.

The stated goal of that PAC, Hope for America, was to aid state and local candidates nationwide. But records show it hasn’t donated to a single candidate but instead has paid for Mr. Huckabee’s consultants, travel and fundraising.

Dealing with Democrats

When he first became governor, Mr. Huckabee took fire from state Democrats because he campaigned for Republicans. Democratic legislative leaders accused him of bringing partisanship to the governor’s office, and said he had broken a promise not to campaign against Democratic incumbents.

The Democrat-Gazette reported that Mr. Huckabee’s spokesman first denied, but later acknowledged, that the governor was campaigning for Republicans. Mr. Huckabee stressed, though, that he campaigned only for Republicans and never attacked their Democratic opponents.

State Sen. Gilbert Baker, a Republican and a defender of Mr. Huckabee, said Mr. Huckabee learned from those early clashes with Democrats, particularly during his first legislative session. They overrode many of his vetoes and even took away traditional governor’s prerogatives such as directing spending from the state General Improvement Fund.

Huckabee said, ‘Look, if I’m going to be governor I have got to build coalitions here, and reach out. I do not have a legislature full of conservative Republicans,’ ” Mr. Baker said. “At that point he decided, ‘Look, I’m going to do the best I can from a conservative standpoint for my state.’ ”

The point, Mr. Baker said, was that Mr. Huckabee had to govern.

“He did some incredibly conservative things within the context of a Democratic legislature. Every possible pro-life piece of legislation was passed, defending marriage,” he said.

Story Continues →