- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 12, 2008

SPECIAL PREVIEW: For the full version of this developing story, read tomorrow’s editions of The Washington Times or www.washingtontimes.com.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has won the endorsement of conservationist Ray Scott, an icon in the sports fishing world, The Washington Times has learned.

A longtime friend and supporter of both the first President Bush and the current President Bush, Mr. Scott founded the worlds largest bass fishing organization, the Bass Anglers Sportsmans Society (BASS). The group claims 600,000 member worldwide and is now a part of the ESPN Outdoors.

Mr. Scott, president of Ray Scott Outdoors Inc., was Alabama chairman of the elder Mr. Bushs 1979-80 campaign for the Republican nomination and then chairman of Outdoorsmen and Conservationists for Bush-Reagan.

A political activist with close ties to Mr. Huckabee confided that Mr. Scott would campaign personally for Mr. Huckabee, including in South Carolina, where Mr. Huckabee leads the Republican presidential nomination field by an average of five percentage points in the latest published polls.

Meanwhile, the campaign announced late tonight that it had won the endorsement of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT). Mr. Huckabee said he “won the majority of Republican candidate votes in a recent membership poll on who the union should support in the presidential race.”

“I am tremendously honored to receive this historic support from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades,” his campaign press office quoted him as saying while he was campaigning in Michigan.

“I appreciate this endorsement from the working men and women of the union - and pledge to keep their interests at the forefront of my economic policy.”

The Huckabee statement quoted IUPAT General President James Williams as saying, “We are fully aware that the membership of this union is both Republican and Democrat and this leadership wants to make certain both sides of the aisle are represented.”

Mr. Huckabee has taken a populist approach that is more favorable to organized labor than any major Republican presidential hopeful since Pat Buchanan sought the Republican nomination in 1992 and 1996.

Earlier this year, Mr. Huckabee trumpeted what his campaign called the “historic co-endorsement from The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers,” nothing that it was the first time IAM had supported a Republican nomination seeker in 119 years.

The Huckabee campaign said the IUPAT announcement “is the result of an unprecedented special ballot that was sent to 160,000 IUPAT members and retirees across the United States last December.”

The campaign quoted Mr. Williams as saying that Mr. Huckabee’s “frank talk on the campaign trail has impressed our conservative members and we, as a union, look forward to an ongoing dialogue with him as he makes his case to be our next president.”

The union represents more than 160,000 working and retired members of the “finishing trades.”

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