Tags: faith | freedom | gop | conference

Evangelical Group Courts 2016 GOP Hopefuls

Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013 12:56 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The conservative Faith & Freedom Coalition plans to invite more than a half-dozen possible Republican presidential candidates to its spring conference and give them an opportunity to court some of the party’s religious base.

The group’s potential guest list is a who’s who of the Republican Party, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida; Rand Paul of Kentucky; and Ted Cruz of Texas, along with Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin; Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Bob McDonnell of Virginia. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is also on the guest list, reports Politico.

None of the lawmakers have confirmed they’ll attend the conference, scheduled to start June 13 in Washington, D.C. But Ralph Reed, who leads the Faith & Freedom Coalition, said evangelical voters are key for any Republican who wants to be president.

“They are the largest single constituency in the party today, and it’s not even close,” Reed said. “There is no road to the White House as a Republican without going through the toll booth of the evangelical voter.”

Reed said the conference is a starting point on restoring conservative change in the White House, and the organization’s grass-roots workers are looking for fighters.

“They recognize and are smart enough to know that there’s a limit to what we can accomplish in the next four years as long as Barack Obama’s president,” Reed said.

It’s still too early for any White House hopefuls to formally announce their intentions, but potential candidates are already lining up their appearances. Several, including Rubio, Paul, Walker, Bush, and Cruz will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, which begins Thursday in National Harbor, Md.

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