Evangelical leader James Dobson rescinded a previous endorsement in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race Monday, saying he had made an "embarrassing mistake," and encouraged voters to support tea party favorite Rand Paul.
Dobson, a leading abortion foe and founder of the Colorado-based Christian ministry Focus on the Family, had endorsed Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the Senate race, based on what he termed "misleading information" from Republican leaders.
"I now know that (Paul) is avidly pro-life," Dobson said. "He believes that life begins at conception. He opposes earmarking and supports Israel. He identifies with the tea party movement and believes in home schooling. Sounds like my kind of man."
Paul, a Bowling Green physician, and Grayson have sought to outdo each other in opposing abortion, a key issue among Kentucky's evangelicals. Both say they are "100 percent pro-life" and would support a constitutional ban on abortion.
Both candidates have received support from anti-abortion groups.
Grayson and Paul are among five Republicans seeking the GOP nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, who opted not to seek a third term. The Republican winner will face one of five Democrats.
Grayson campaign manager Nate Hodson, in a one-sentence response to Dobson's change of heart, accused Paul of "lying about his record on this issue" to win political support. The Paul campaign passed that comment off as sour grapes.
Though he lost Dobson's support, Grayson received a key endorsement Monday from U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers. His opinion matters in Kentucky's mountain region, which will be a key battleground in the May 18 Republican primary.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani have endorsed Grayson.
Paul has been endorsed by Bunning, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes. He also has capitalized on the political base of his father, Texas congressman Ron Paul, who made an unsuccessful bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008.
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