Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. The Baptist minister joins an already crowded field of contenders for a shot at the White House.
Preacher-turned-politician Huckabee became the third Republican this week to enter his name to be a candidate for the party's presidential nomination.
The 59-year-old visited his home town Hope, Arkansas - the birthplace of former President Bill Clinton - to make public "the worst kept secret in the state."
"It seems fitting that I would announce here that I am a candidate for president of the United States" he said.
"I don't come from a family dynasty, but a working family. I grew up blue-collar, not blue blood," he said, in a reference to opponents from a more affluent background.
Huckabee won eight states in the 2008 primary campaign - thanks largely to grass roots support from evangelical Christians - which he finally lost to Senator John McCain. He was thought to have fared particularly well in the early stages because of his opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage.
An array of opponents
Other possible front runners - former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker - are expected to launch their bids soon.
Two other hopefuls - viewed as outsiders - put forward their names for the Republican nomination earlier this week. They were former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
On the Democrat side, Hillary Rodham Clinton - former secretary of state and first lady - possesses a commanding lead in the race for the Democratic nomination. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running to the left of Clinton, is so far the only other contender.
rc/bk (AP, dpa, Reuters)