Mike Huckabee's epic fight to keep beachgoers off his patch of Florida sand - 2019-05-22
Not long after his failed 2008 presidential bid, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee bought a beachfront plot in the Florida Panhandle and built a three-story, 10,000-square-foot mansion, with six bedrooms, seven-and-a-half bathrooms, and a pool. By planting his flag in the Florida sugar sand, Huckabee was escaping Arkansas income taxes and joining other rich Republicans who owned houses in this particular part of Walton County, including Karl Rove. The beach house was a sign that he'd made it. As he explained in an email to a state senator years later, "Having grown up dirt poor in Arkansas, I never thought I'd see saltwater in person, much less live on a beach."
There was just one problem: Huckabee built his dream house on a public beach, a spot where some of the more than 4 million spring breakers and tourists who come to Walton County each year had been parking their lawn chairs and fishing poles since time immemorial. That meant the Fox News contributor had to share much of the 115-foot-long spit of sand in front of his $6 million house with those who helped pay for it—the people who watch his TV show. And he didn't like it one bit.
So Huckabee, father of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, lobbied local officials to cleanse it of the riffraff. Now, along with his rich neighbors, he's taken the matter to court. In doing so, he and the other wealthy beachfront property owners have set off an epic legal battle, one that has Florida cops booting unsuspecting tourists off the beaches just as summer vacation season sets in.