Gingrich Banking on Evangelical Support to Win Iowa; Leaders Undecided

An endorsement from the conservative group The Family Leader would be an early Christmas gift for Newt Gingrich. But his largest hurdle is that too many on the group’s board have severe reservations on lending their support to the former speaker.

What seemed like a possibility a few weeks ago, a weekend meeting of the board of The Family Leader did not produce an endorsement decision and it’s unclear if the group is going to be able to come to a consensus anytime soon.

Bob Vander Plaats, the executive director, is said to be leaning toward Gingrich. But several of the other board members are reluctant to throw their support behind the former speaker of the House.

The board met on Friday and was unable to reach a decision, according to the group’s spokesperson, Julie Summa. They are scheduled to meet again on Monday.

“Bob wants to go with Gingrich,” an unnamed source told Reuters. “Too many supporters around him think that’s utter madness. So they may go their separate ways.”

Why? Well the 10-ton elephant sitting in the middle of the room is Gingrich’s past extra martial history.

Some evangelical leaders are willing to look past Gingrich’s prior shortcomings. However, just as many seem to think that his past will be too easy of a target for Obama’s skilled and talented campaign staff to bombard in a general election.

Cary Gordon is a pastor in Sioux City, Iowa, and has thrown his support behind former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Does he feel Gingrich’s past will be an issue?

“Absolutely. There is no way I can trust him,” he told Reuters.

Both Santorum and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann have gotten the backing of some of Iowa’s conservative leaders and pastors.

Former State Rep. and Family Leader board member Danny Carroll has been traveling the state in an attempt to drum up support for Bachmann.

“We come here this morning to ask Christians across Iowa to support Michele Bachmann,” Carroll said in a news conference at the state capitol last week. “We have determined that Michele Bachmann is biblically qualified to be president, to be a leader. She is capable. She is trustworthy. She fears God and she hates dishonest gain.”

Compounding Gingrich’s troubles is the relentless beating he has been receiving from his fellow GOP opponents in a barrage of radio and television ads. The one thing that may be able to ensure a victory would be an endorsement from the state’s leading Christian leaders.

In the most recent Public Policy Poll, Texas Congressman Ron Paul has taken a slight lead with 23 percent of those surveyed, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 20 percent. Gingrich came in third at 14 percent.

“Newt Gingrich’s campaign is rapidly imploding and Gingrich has now seen a big drop in his Iowa standing two weeks in a row,” said the Democratic polling firm’s statement on the results.

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