The Associated Press ran an article over the weekend examining the role “religious conservatives” in Iowa continue to play in the Republican presidential primaries. As the article noted, GOP “candidates will need to convince religious conservatives that they are serious before they can win them over” and that none of the front-running candidates has managed to do that quite yet.
And just like leaders and organizations at the national level, local Religious Right leaders and activists in Iowa are divided over which candidate to support. But while these activists might not currently wield enough political power to single-handedly dictate who the nominee will be, they certainly can do the opposite:
“Religious conservatives and social conservatives in the Republican Party are like the driver’s education instructor,” said [Drake University political science professor Dennis] Goldford. “He has a brake, but he doesn’t have a steering wheel or an accelerator. They can pretty well say who is not going to be the nominee.”
This fact, coupled with this recent declaration by “100 conservative Iowa Republicans” vowing never to support Rudy Giuliani cannot bode well for Giuliani’s campaign:
When, in the course of political process, it might become necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, it becomes necessary to declare the causes which would impel the separation.
We, the undersigned of this digital document, hereby agree that we are Conservatives first and Republicans second, and that we would not support the candidacy of Rudolph William Louis “Rudy” Giuliani if the Republican Party chooses to nominate him for President of the United States.
We hereby agree that Mr. Giuliani is an American hero for his performance in the aftermath of 9-11, however his liberal record as Mayor, appointment of liberal judges, and the conduct of his personal life make it impossible for us to support his candidacy under any circumstances.
While Giuliani may currently be second in fund-raising and leading in some polls, the fact that 100 right-wing activists from Iowa would publicly declare that they will not “support his candidacy under any circumstances” makes it clear he’s got a long way to go with a big chunk of the GOP’s base.