WASHINGTON – Winners and losers of this past weekend's primaries did little to ease the worries of the Christian right, who expressed that they are still in search of the ideal candidate that could satisfy the three branches of the conservative voting base.
These conservative Christian leaders surprised some, including candidates, by withholding their support from even the strongest opponents of abortion and gay "marriage" because they felt their defense and economic record was not strong enough.
In a broadcasted analysis of primary results Saturday night, Focus on the Family Action and Family Research Council expressed that while former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's record was "fairly good on value voters" issues, they were looking to "elect a president to do a lot of things" including standing up to "tyrants" and fix the economy.
FRC president Tony Perkins explained that the conservative voting camp consists of not only social conservatives who care about abortion and traditional marriage, but also fiscal and defense conservatives.
"Like McCain reaching out to social conservatives, Huckabee needs to reach out to fiscal and economic conservatives," Perkins advised.
Likewise, the Christian right leaders were not fully satisfied with South Carolina winner and current frontrunner, Sen. John McCain, who FOTF's Tom Minnery said has frustrated social conservatives with his support for embryonic stem cell research and his blow-up with Christian leaders in 2000.
"He likes his reputation of a maverick, but we want someone we can depend on," Perkins chimed in, noting his fluctuating support of conservative agendas.
Meanwhile, Nevada winner Mitt Romney meets all three of the conservative markers, but his "big challenge" is being a newcomer to the social conservative scene. Many have accused the former Massachusetts governor of flip-flopping on issues, including the non-negotiable conservative issues of abortion and gay rights.
Former social conservative darling Fred Thompson was also said to satisfy all three essential conservative groups, but lacks campaign momentum. The former Tennessee senator has not won any primaries or come in second at any of the events.
In South Carolina, where his campaign desperately needed to win, Thompson came in a disappointing third, causing many to question his campaign's sustainability.
McCain had instead claimed victory in the state said to be the gatekeeper to the South, and was followed closely by Huckabee, and Romney in fourth.
On the west coast, Romney easily won Nevada, Ron Paul came in second, followed by McCain, ahead of Thompson and Huckabee.
Early exit polling data indicate that the economy was the most important issues affecting Republican votes in both South Carolina and Nevada, according to CNN. Republicans will travel down south to Florida for its next primary on Jan. 29.
On the Democratic side, Sen. Hillary Clinton won the Nevada primary on Saturday and will head east for the party's next face-off Saturday in South Carolina.