Jennifer Jacobs | 5:42 PM, Dec 19, 2011
After agonizing for about four weeks over what to do, the Family Leader, an Iowa-based Christian conservative organization, will announce a decision about endorsing a candidate Tuesday – exactly two weeks before the Iowa caucuses.
The seven-member board last month crossed off four candidates from consideration: Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.
Four remain on the list of possibilities: Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich – but board members have been wrestling over how to reach consensus on just one candidate.
It has been more than four weeks since the Family’s Leader’s Thanksgiving Family Forum on Nov. 22, attended by six GOP candidates. Board members have yet to announce whether they will whittle their list down to just candidate or allow Family Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats to make his own endorsement.
Board members met Friday to hash this over, and again tonight.
Evangelical ministers around Iowa have led a loud outcry in protest of an endorsement of the thrice-married Gingrich, whose character they have called into question.
According to a news release today, Vander Plaats will announce the “conclusion” at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Comfort Suites in Urbandale.
Social and religious conservatives in Iowa have found it extremely difficult to craft a unified endorsement. Their motivation: a vote split between those they view as more staunchly opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage would leave a candidate they consider more moderate – namely Mitt Romney – well-positioned to win on Jan. 3.
An endorsement from Vander Plaats and his group is coveted by all four who remain in the running because it would provide clout and some organizational aid before the Jan. 3 caucuses.
The Family Leader, whose membership includes many social conservative caucusgoers and evangelical pastors in Iowa, has taken an active role in the 2012 presidential nominating process. It has done a 99-county tour to build grassroots momentum, a monthly lecture series, a marriage pledge meant to get the candidates on the record on same-sex marriage, and the Nov. 22 presidential forum moderated by Fox News’ Frank Luntz.
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