Huckabee: Campaign in fine shape despite departure

Story highlights

  • Mike Huckabee explains why a top staffer left his campaign
  • "We hate to lose Alice, but she's decided that she's I think exhausted from the campaign," Huckabee said.
Watch the CNN Republican debate Tuesday, December 15 at 6:00 p.m. ET and 8:30 p.m. ET.

Washington (CNN)Mike Huckabee denied Monday that the departure of a senior campaign aide hinted at fundamental problems with his presidential bid.

Alice Stewart confirmed to CNN that she had left the former Arkansas governor's campaign team. Stewart was a longtime communications staffer, but declined to offer more information about her decision. The news raised the prospect that Huckabee's campaign was underfunded, under stress or under fire in the day before CNN's Republican debate in Las Vegas.
But Huckabee told CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead" that his campaign was not in tailspin.
    "We hate to lose Alice, but she's decided that she's I think exhausted from the campaign," Huckabee said. "If people try to read more into it than is there, they're going to be making a huge mistake."
    Huckabee is scheduled to appear in the undercard event for the second straight debate on Tuesday night. He has been unable to gain any political oxygen in a race dominated by Donald Trump and featuring other evangelical favorites who have out-muscled past 2008 Iowa caucus winner Huckabee.
    "I think we're going to get more time," said Huckabee, complaining that he had not received enough opportunities during the first forums. "The one good thing is that I'll actually get to answer some questions."