The GOP’s Evangelical Wing Starts to Coalesce Around Ted Cruz

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cruz wins coveted endorsement from Iowa evangelical Bob Vander Plaats.

It’s been a slow and steady climb to the top for GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. The GOP hopeful on Thursday picked up the highly coveted endorsement of Bob Vander Plaats, an Evangelical leader who heads an influential social conservative advocacy group in the state. “At the end of the day, we truly believe that Ted Cruz is the most consistent and principled conservative who has the ability to not only win Iowa but I believe to win the (Republican) nomination,” Vander Plaats, the president of the Family Leader, told the Des Moines Register.

He spent the better part of the year leading up to the 2008 contest stumping for Mike Huckabee, who ultimately coasted to a nearly 10-point victory over Mitt Romney. That’s also Cruz’s target audience. “This is an endorsement that simultaneously sends a signal to political observers and motivates active Caucus voters,” Cruz said in a statement issued from campaign headquarters. “It’s more evidence that our campaign has momentum and is gaining ground heading into the final weeks of the Caucus. Four years later, Vander Plaats kept his powder dry for considerably longer before throwing his support behind Rick Santorum less than a month before the 2012 caucus. This endorsement also speaks to the grassroots activists who have delivered for the past couple of Iowa Caucus winners, that the time has come for us to coalesce.

Since March, Cruz has been highly visible in Iowa, courting Evangelicals and winning valuable endorsements including the backing of Representative Steve King. Vander Plaat’s decision is a serious blow to a number of Cruz’s rivals who are also hoping that Christian conservative voters will propel them to a victory in Iowa, where Evangelicals make up roughly half of GOP caucus-goers. During the press conference Vander Plaats called Cruz, “the extraordinary leader that we need for these extraordinary times.” “We will be going all in for Senator Ted Cruz – We have found him as a man of deep character.

It’s also a major setback for Ben Carson, who had briefly emerged as the Evangelical favorite before being battered by skepticism over his personal biography and his ability to grasp anything more than the basics of foreign policy. We believe that he is exceptionally competent and that adds to his extraordinary leadership.” Vander Plaats’ support is crucial for an Iowa caucus win; in the past he has endorsed both Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. He said this time around, after examining the GOP field, he is backing the candidate “that can go the distance and become the nominee.” “For a lot of people I talked to in Iowa, the difference is Cruz is not as brash as Donald Trump.

Ted Cruz,” Vander Plaats, a three-time candidate for governor, said in Des Moines today, calling on social conservatives to rally behind Cruz to fend off the party’s so-called establishment. “If we are united, we will win. The freshman senator has been careful not to personally attack GOP frontrunner Donald Trump throughout the race, a strategy his Republican opponents have failed to do. If we’re divided, we’re going to repeat 2008 and 2012.” Jeb Bush and Chris Christie never had much chance and effectively wrote off the possibility of winning him over. In recent days, Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims entering the U.S. has been condemned by all GOP presidential candidates except Ted Cruz. “Cruz was very careful, while he said he didn’t like the statements he also said that he thought he would put Trump in his cabinet because he is a great negotiator,” said Sanders. “I think Cruz not attacking Trump has to do with the fact that he knows Trump has a ceiling, he thinks he is not going to last and Cruz wants to be there to pick up the pieces, it’s very calculated.” King says he doesn’t believe Senator Cruz is calculating each move but rather abiding by President Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” “Cruz’s MO is to follow Reagan’s 11th Commandment, he hasn’t really been attacking others but he does defend himself when he is being attacked especially when it is not the whole truth.“ Iowa State Senator Dennis Guth says speaking the truth and standing by his convictions are traits Ted Cruz has upheld during his tenure in Congress and on the campaign trail.

He does it in a subtle way without naming anyone.” Professor Sanders says in order for Cruz to sweep the Iowa caucus he needs to continue building his strong base by remaining visible and offering contrasts to Donald Trump and Ben Carson without personally attacking them. “Cruz has very firmly stood for his values that Iowans hold dear.

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