Fallon pastor owes much to Mike Huckabee | NevadaAppeal.com

Fallon pastor owes much to Mike Huckabee

Steve Ranson
Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, left, talks with Pastor Sam Stanton of Fallon.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s campaign swing through Nevada during the past five days renewed a long-standing friendship with a Fallon pastor.

Sam Stanton, pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church in Fallon for almost 20 years, became interested in the ministry because of Huckabee. Before Huckabee entered politics in the early 1990s, he was as pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Ark., from 1980 to 1986, and the Beech Street Baptist Church in Texarkana from 1986 to 1992, the same time Stanton was attending the church.

“He was my pastor for three years,” Stanton said Monday after Huckabee had appeared at the Fallon Convention Center. “He was responsible for getting me back into the ministry.”

Stanton said he began attending the church where Huckabee preached, and during his time at the church, Stanton volunteered on a mission to the Amazon.

Ironically, Stanton was managing editor of the Hope State newspaper for three years, Huckabee’s hometown publication.

“We have had sporadic contact,” Stanton said. “We’ll make contact once every four to five years,” Stanton added.

According to Stanton, he visited with Huckabee in Las Vegas on Friday night and then again on Monday morning.

“He was a little surprised,” Stanton said of his first visit. “I just stood behind the stage with my 30-year-old mother.”

Stanton said the former Arkansas governor ribbed Stanton about him being “a little more grayer” than when he left Arkansas in 1989. Stanton said that was about the time Huckabee had thoughts of running for the U.S. Senate.

Furthermore, Stanton said it was also a nice surprise when he learned Huckabee was traveling to Fallon to campaign before the Republican debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

After the introductions Monday morning, Huckabee looked as Stanton.

“Sam Stanton is a man I have known for 30 years,” Huckabee said, adding he saw Stanton in southern Nevada last week. “I didn’t recognize him for he looked like he did in the 1980s.”

In a friendship that has spanned four decades, Stanton said Huckabee is a man of integrity.

“He thinks things through and has the ability to work with the opposition,” Stanton said.

Stanton said Huckabee encouraged him. For several years Stanton was pastor of a church on the other side of Nevada in Lincoln County. He later moved to Fallon in March 1996.

Stanton said both men talked from time to time when Stanton ministered in Pioche for seven years.

With Huckabee traversing the state and seeking residents who will vote for him in the February caucus, Stanton wishes his mentor and friend good luck in his second try to gain the Republican nomination for president.