Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee asserted he was being overlooked Wednesday night at the GOP debate as he launched into a defense of controversial county clerk Kim Davis. Huckabee, who spoke for the first time about 30 minutes after his introduction, told the moderators he needed more time to make a statement about the "criminalization of Christianity."
Huckabee criticized the Supreme Court for deciding to legalize gay marriage in "out of thin air," calling it "judicial tyranny." "I thought that everyone here passed ninth-grade civics," he said, according to the Miami Herald. "The courts can't legislate."
Huckabee said the government should make accommodations for Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused on religious grounds to give same-sex couples marriage licenses. Huckabee previously joined Davis as she was released from jail, saying that “I'm tired of watching people being just harassed because they believe something of their faith," Politico reported.
Wednesday night, Huckabee asserted that it was wrong that detainees and imprisoned Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan could have a beard -- which has since been shaven -- while Davis was punished. “What is it if not the criminalization of her faith and the exultation of the faith of everyone else who might be a Ft. Hood shooter or a detainee at Gitmo?” he said.
Huckabee was polling relatively well going into Wednesday's 8 p.m. debate, which was hosted by CNN at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. In a CBS News/New York Times survey, the former Arkansas governor was tied for third place with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at about 6 percent. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson and real estate mogul Donald Trump were at No. 2 and No. 1, respectively.
Even before Wednesday's event, Huckabee told reporters he was most worried about not getting enough time to talk. But at the Aug. 6 debate, Huckabee was the third most frequent speaker, addressing the moderators for 6 minutes and 32 seconds. He was beat out by Bush and Trump, the latter of whom spoke for more than 10 minutes.
"If you keep it fair, divide the time up equally and don't make this a one or two-candidate show, then yeah, I've got a real shot," Huckabee said, according to the Washington Examiner. "But I think all of us have to be concerned that it's going to be like the TV coverage has been over the past few weeks and so unbelievably centered on one candidate, and that's going to be hard for us."
Another GOP debate was set for Oct. 28.