Mike Huckabee
Republican U.S. presidential candidate and former Governor Mike Huckabee speaks during a forum for lower polling candidates held before the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada on 15 December 2015REUTERS/Mike Blake

Republican presidential candidate has revealed what will help him decide whether or not to remain in the race for the White House. Speaking during a radio interview with Simon Conway, the former Arkansas governor said he will end his bid unless he finished in the top three in the first-in-the-national Iowa caucuses.

"If we can't come within striking distance of the victory or win it, then I think we recognise that it's going to be hard to take that onto the other states," Huckabee said. Conway, whose show airs in Des Moines Iowa, asked Huckabee what his expectations in the state were.

"Well, I mean, historically, we've always said there are three tickets out of Iowa: you have to come in number one, two or three," he said. "I think in many ways that's probably still the case."

"It may be that if you're a close second or a close third, that's very good," he added. "If you're a distant third, then maybe there's not a way to go on. I think you have a good, hard look at it after Iowa." The former pastor and TV show host has spent a considerable amount of his campaign in Iowa. In 2008, Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses but ended up loosing the Republican nomination to Senator John McCain.

Based on accumulated polling averages by Real Clear Politics, Huckabee is ranked eighth among GOP candidates with 2.3%. The latest Gravis poll released on 23 December showed Huckabee with 4% support among likely Republican Iowa caucus voters, his highest in December. Huckabee is one of several candidates believed to have a low chance of winning the GOP nomination. His comments come on the heels of Senator Lindsey Graham's announcement that he was dropping out of the race.