- (Photo: Reuters/Jeff Haynes)
The Family Leader’s top executive threw his personal weight behind former Senator Rick Santorum on Tuesday but the call heard around Iowa may have been the one he made on Saturday when he asked Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to drop out of the GOP presidential primary.
Many GOP women believe Bob Vander Plaats’ request was out of line.
Bachmann, who has confirmed that the call between she and Vander Plaats took place, quickly dismissed the call to drop out and maintained that she still has a chance to secure the Republican nomination.
“I did receive a phone call,” Bachmann confirmed on Fox News Wednesday morning.
“My numbers have always been above Senator Santorum’s, so it makes no sense for me to drop out,” Bachmann also mentioned on CBS’ “The Early Show.”
Although Bachmann has been polling in the mid-single digits, her numbers have consistently been higher than Santorum’s. In the latest ISU/Gazette/KCRG poll, Bachmann came in at 7 percent to Santorum’s 5 percent.
Vander Plaats, along with the entire board of The Family Leader had been struggling for several days to come to a consensus on one of four GOP candidates that were under consideration.
The board was unable to come to a decision, but gave Vander Plaats permission to throw his personal weight behind the candidate he thought would be the best person for evangelicals.
The Christian Post attempted to contact Vander Plaats by phone and email, but could not reach him prior to publication.
However, women leaders in the Republican Party believe Vander Plaats was out of line to make such a request of Bachmann.
Dee Dee Benkie, the former Chairwoman of the Young Republican National Federation and now a GOP political strategist and Fox News Contributor, was disappointed by his call.
“It is so obvious that Vander Plaats is being biased toward the lone woman in the race. Why should you ask someone who agrees with your platform, with what you believe to get out of the race? Why didn’t he ask Ron Paul or Newt to get out of the race? It’s just not right,” Benkie exclaimed.
“We are not looking at the national polls we are looking here in Iowa, the tide has turned and an electric light switch gone off and we have tremendous momentum here in Iowa,” Bachmann added.
As the lone female in the Republican primary, Bachmann has garnered a significant amount of traction among conservative women. Earlier this month, Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum announced her support for Bachmann.
“If I were an Iowa voter, I would be making plans right now to cast my vote for Michele Bachmann for president on January 3,” said Schlafly.
Other influential females from across the nation seemed surprised that someone of Vander Plaats’ stature would make such a request of Bachmann.
“In our gender-neutral world, there is still a bias against women, specifically conservative women, said Tennessee Eagle Forum leader and lobbyist Bobbie Patray. “I think it’s a bit presumptuous for Vander Plaats to ask anyone to get out of the race. In the electoral process, the voters are the ones who are best positioned to make such a determination.”
Both Bachmann and Santorum have visited all 99 counties in Iowa and are counting on heavy “retail” campaigning to propel them to finish in the top of the Iowa caucuses that are now less than two weeks away.