GOP presidential candidates are scouring the fields of Iowa in hopes of picking up the support of former backers of Mike Huckabee. The backers helped propel the former Arkansas governor to victory in the Iowa caucuses and the candidates are hoping for a similar boost, The Washington Post
Groups being targeted are pastors, parents who home-school their children, evangelicals, and other conservatives who have more options this time around. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are all in the hunt, the Post reported.
“There’s not the convergence this time,” Chuck Hurley, a 2008 Huckabee backer who runs the Iowa Family Policy Center, told the Post. “My friends are all over the place.” While concerned about the budget deficit and President Barack Obama’s policies, the former Huckabee supporters are social conservatives who oppose abortion and gay marriage.
“I’m an absolute fiscal and social conservative. You cannot be a fiscal conservative if you are not a social conservative,” Julie Roe, who lives in rural Hardin County and organized for Huckabee in 2008, told the Post. Roe has so far heard from two candidates and got a call from Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former Arkansas governor’s daughter, who is helping to run Pawlenty’s Iowa operation, the Post reported.
Michael Farris, chairman of the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association, has also heard from candidates and Huckabee Sanders. While he doesn’t live in Iowa he does have close ties to parents who home-school their children in Iowa. Alice Stewart, who worked with Huckabee and is now with Bachmann, acknowledged Bachmann was making a special effort to reach pastors in Iowa.
“She acts out her faith every day, and she naturally speaks their language,” Stewart told the Post. “Michele and the governor [Huckabee] share the natural constituency of the faith community.”
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