Iowa Evangelical Leaders Call on Santorum or Bachmann to Exit GOP Race

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By Paul Stanley, Christian Post Reporter
December 29, 2011|5:25 pm

“If you can’t beat’em, then join’em,” seems to be the strategy of an Iowa pastor who only weeks ago asked former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum to withdraw from the Republican presidential primary before deciding later to endorse his candidacy.

An organized effort had been under way in recent weeks to convince either Santorum or Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to quit in hopes that a larger bloc of the Christian vote can deliver a victory to the remaining candidate.

The Rev. Cary Gordon, pastor of Cornerstone Outreach Church in Sioux City, met with Santorum in November and requested that he get out of the race, while the Rev. Albert Calloway, a retired pastor from Indianola, called on Bachmann recently to throw in the towel and support Santorum.

Why? “Otherwise, like-minded people will be divided and water down their impact,” Gordon told Fox News.

However, this isn’t Gordon’s first attempt at trying to influence the outcome of the Iowa GOP presidential primary.

In an interview with The Christian Post on Dec. 12, Gordon said that former Speaker Newt Gingrich can be “forgiven, but not trusted,” and that he has traded wives “like used cars.”

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Gordon said he would also discourage voters from supporting Mitt Romney because of his numerous flip-flops on gay rights and abortion.

So far, most candidates who have touted endorsements have only been able to list individuals and have not gotten the blessings of the larger Christian groups in the Hawkeye state.

The Family Leader, an influential conservative Iowa Christian group, was unable to reach a consensus and did not make an endorsement. However, the group’s charismatic and politically minded leader, Bob Vander Plaats, threw his support behind Santorum and also called on Bachmann to quit and support Santorum.

Bachmann refused and was offended by the request since her Iowa polling numbers have consistently outpaced Santorum’s for several weeks. However, and maybe in large part to some endorsements, Santorum has jumped to third place by garnering 16 percent of the vote in the most recent CNN/Time poll.

Bachman, who is polling at 9 percent in Iowa, says she is also planning on releasing a list of pastors who are supporting her campaign.

“The pastors who have endorsed my campaign want to see me as the next president of the United States,” said Bachmann.

Regardless of the endorsements that Santorum or Bachmann receive in Iowa, if neither is able to finish strong in caucus voting, their chances of continuing grow remote. Supporters, especially those who are willing and able to financially contribute, tend to look to the candidate they believe is best positioned to win the party nomination.

“Campaigning is hard on a good day,” said former Iowa resident Lee Sage. “Campaigning in Iowa is brutal on any day and for a handful of candidates, it may be their last day if they don’t finish well.”

 

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