Republican presidential candidate and former Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee is causing new concerns within the Christian Right.
The rising popularity of Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, has alarmed some traditional conservative leaders as well as leaders of the what the New York Times has termed the movement's "old guard."
Here's how the Times summed up the evangelical split: "Much of the national leadership of the Christian conservative movement has turned a cold shoulder to the Republican presidential campaign of Mike Huckabee, wary of his populist approach to economic issues and his criticism of the Bush administration's foreign policy."
The conservative split is also evident in the Sooner state, where Huckabee has a strong evangelical base among Republicans. Yet the state's senior Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe, is supporting former Sen. Fred Thompson. Tulsa Rep. John Sullivan has also endorsed Thompson.
We predict Huckabee will win Oklahoma's Republican primary, despite such endorsements. But Huckabee's road to the White House will be rougher in other states, where his religious views and conservative charm will be a much tougher sell.