Christian Nationalist Political Operative David Lane Is Targeting 2024 Early Voting States

David Lane is a relatively unknown yet highly influential Christian nationalist political operative who has spent tens of millions of dollars hosting conferences aimed at encouraging conservative Christian religious leaders to politically mobilize their congregations and also to run for office themselves.

Via his American Renewal Project organization, Lane organizes free events where pastors and their spouses are addressed by a variety of religious-right activists, like Christian nationalist pseudo-historian David Barton, right-wing pastors Jim Garlow and Rob McCoy, and North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson.

In recent years, Lane has focused most of his efforts on building a “vote delivery machine” with Robinson in North Carolina, working diligently to ensure that their Christian nationalist values “reign supreme” throughout the state.

Lane has had such success in North Carolina that he now intends to take his “ekklesia model” on the road to swing states heading into the 2024 election. (Ekklesia is a term favored by dominionists to refer to the church as God’s governing body on the Earth.)

Lane appeared on David Brody’s “America 180” program Thursday to lay out his plans, revealing that since 2005, he has been able to raise nearly $50 million from just a handful of wealthy donors to fund his effort (Brody himself has been a frequent participant in Lane’s events).

“We did 13 events with Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson [in 2022],” Lane said. “2,700 pastors and spiritual leaders participated. May 17 was the primary in North Carolina; 50 ran for local office across the state, 25 won the primary on May 17, and on Nov. 8, 10 pastors and spiritual leaders won the general election. Three of the newly elected 13 North Carolina state House members or pastors [and] 2 of the spiritual leaders were elected to the Supreme Court of North Carolina.”

“The first four presidential primary states of 2024 are Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada,” Lane added. “We’re working on the funding now, [but] if the Lord does it, we’re going into those four states with the North Carolina ekklesia model, as we call it. … We’re going into these states with the model to get pastors and spiritual leaders engaged in the culture. I would put it this way: If we’re gonna save America, every church in America has to have a pastor, an elder, a deacon, or a good congregant running for local office in 2024, 2026, 2028 and thereafter.”

The 2 “spiritual leaders” mentioned by Lane who were elected to the North Carolina supreme court wound up giving the GOP control of the court, which then set about handing down decisions upholding partisan Republican efforts to enact voter ID laws and impose a gerrymandered map on the state.

We need your help. Every day, Right Wing Watch exposes extremism to help the public, activists, and journalists understand the strategies and tactics of anti-democratic forces—and respond to an increasingly aggressive and authoritarian far-right movement. The threat is growing, but our resources are not. Any size contribution—or a small monthly donation—will help us continue our work and become more effective at disrupting the ideologies, people, and organizations that threaten our freedom and democracy. Please make an investment in Right Wing Watch’s defense of the values we share.