Last Updated:July 4 @ 08:13 am

Fearing split, pastors urge GOP candidates to quit

By Thomas Beaumont

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two politically active pastors in Iowa's robust evangelical conservative movement said Wednesday that an effort has been under way to persuade either Rick Santorum or Michele Bachmann to consider quitting the Republican presidential race and endorsing the other to avoid splintering this influential voting bloc's influence in the state's caucuses.

"Otherwise, like-minded people will be divided and water down their impact," said Rev. Cary Gordon, a Sioux City minister. He said he asked Santorum several weeks ago to consider exiting the race but has since endorsed the former Pennsylvania senator, who is rising in polls.

Rev. Albert Calloway, a retired pastor from Indianola, said he asked Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, several days ago to consider quitting the race.

A group of voters that united behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's winning caucus campaign in 2008 fear that this year's caucuses could be won by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. Neither track as closely to the religious right as Santorum, Bachmann or Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Santorum, long dismissed and short on campaign money, has diligently campaigned in Iowa for more than two years. A CNN poll of Iowa caucus-goers released Wednesday showed Santorum leaping into third place in Iowa, at 16 percentage points, behind Romney and Paul.

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In recent weeks, Santorum has picked up the endorsements of key social conservatives, including former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, who led the successful effort last year to oust three Iowa Supreme Court judges who were part of the court's unanimous 2009 decision to allow gay marriage.

Bachmann too has rallied Iowa's influential conservative clergy. Many, like Jeff Mullen, pastor of one of the Des Moines area's mega churches, helped lead Bachmann's winning campaign for Iowa's Republican presidential straw poll last August. But since then, Bachmann has faded in polls, although Wednesday she planned to conclude an ambitious effort to campaign in all of Iowa's 99 counties.

The CNN poll showed Bachmann with support of 9 percent of likely GOP caucus-goers, up slightly from the last poll. Perry had 11 percent, also up slightly.

Bachmann told reporters on her campaign bus between stops in Iowa on Wednesday she wasn't quitting and planned to announce additional clergy who were supporting her candidacy.

"The pastors who have endorsed my campaign want to see me as the next president of the United States," Bachmann said.

Gordon, who helped lead the campaign against the judges, said the fear of a divided social conservative vote is widespread among the state's evangelical clergy. However, few have actually reached out to candidates, he said.

Brad Cranston, a pastor from Burlington, said he too is worried that social conservatives will split their vote and lose influence over the eventual GOP nominee, but he has not yet tried to contact any candidates.

"It's more and more obvious it needs to happen for either Bachmann or Santorum to move forward," said Cranston, who has endorsed Bachmann.


Associated Press writer Brian Bakst in Indianola, Iowa, contributed to this report.

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  1. newsjunkyComment by newsjunky
    December 29, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    Although, many dismiss these actions as nothing new under the sun, it’s becoming obvious that the boldness with which these authoritarians operate is becoming more overt.  Discretion isn’t needed anymore in a society that’s totally losing its bearings. It’s “my way or the highway,” in your face!

    If these so-called Christian leaders wish to control these elections as do the Democrats, then maybe they could use a little subtlety in the process at least leaving us the illusion that they still practice what they preach!

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  2. linfComment by lin
    December 29, 2011 @ 9:55 am

    According to Ann Coulter’s latest column, , Rick Santorum voted AGAINST e-Verify.  She explains how our entire country will become California under the leadership of anyone who isn’t prepared to deal with stopping the job and other magnets.  I was fully prepared to support Santorum until reading this info. Illegal immigration, and rewarding it, is a HUGE issue to me.

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    • GHUComment by GHU
      December 29, 2011 @ 10:32 am

      Ann Coulter is biased against anyone other than Mitt Romney, who by the way is no great defender against illegal immigration.

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    • bcqueenComment by bcqueen
      December 29, 2011 @ 10:54 am

      After Bob Dole lent Newt Gingrich money, Coulter commented that it was the first time an airbag was saved by a human being.

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    • linfComment by lin
      December 29, 2011 @ 11:08 am

      @ GHU -  Do you have any information to counter her allegations?  I want to like Santorum.  I’ve written twice in the last six months to his campaign seeking his actual position on illegals but have not heard back.   As for Romney, while I’m no fan of his, all I’ve heard from him this campaign is that he would deport Obama’s illegal uncle and similar statements indicating he will be stronger on illegal immigration than most others. rates Romney higher than Santorum (and all other candidates except Bachman) regarding illegals. 

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    • teapartyproudComment by teapartyproud
      December 29, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

      Bachmann, of course, is the strongest on illegal immigration, as she is on just about every conservative issue. Sorry, pastors, she needs to stay in this race right to the end.

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    • GHUComment by GHU
      December 30, 2011 @ 10:50 am

      lin… I found this website with Santorum expressing his view on illegal immigration : 

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  3. ter334Comment by ter334
    December 29, 2011 @ 11:51 am

    Who do these pastors think they are, jumping into politics?  Do they think they are black christian preachers who meddle in politics all the time?  Like Rev Wright. 

    Actually they all have free speech thus there is  no law against them having opinions.  They are just threatened to have their tax exemption status taken away.  But if they do this then all these other ‘charitable” orgs, tax exempt foundations, etc. probably including some pro islaamic/sharia laww advocates, need to start paying taxes as well.    Note low taxes are not the reason for 14 trillion in debt.  Nope, it is just plain old over spending by our elected officials in DC.  Just like you get a big bill on your credit card if you overspend.  However you pay off your credit card  while we all pay for the lavish lifestyle given to our elected officials by themselves! 

    But all these pastors shouldm stick with in God we trust.  How can anyone trust a politician?? 

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    • tcan753Comment by tcan753
      December 29, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

      But all these pastors shouldm (sic) stick with in God we trust.  How can anyone trust a politician??

      They live in the same country and have the same rights as everyone else living here.  Being a pastor and trusting in God doesn’t mean a person has to leave everything up to blind chance. Read the Bible.  People of faith act on their faith.

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    • middlegroundComment by middleground
      December 29, 2011 @ 10:51 pm

      You raise an interesting point in discussing tax exempt organizations and the opinions expressed by their employees.  When a small college town of slightly over 50,000 people with about half of them students is reported to have 850 tax exempt organizations, it seems time to begin questioning our government’s liberal allowance of this status. Through the years it seems as if government has awarded tax exemptions to credit unions that operate as banks, to stores that sell organic food, to numerous representatives of those very very rich who manage their families wealth and in the ultimate absurdity to “native Americans” who run casinos.
      Traditionally, ministers in protestant churches have expressed very strong opinions on the direction society should take and for the last 60 years most of those opinions have involved very Liberal social issues; whereas, priests, Inman’s and those in more fundamentalist Christian churches have been very free in supporting their church’s philosophies that have on occasion involved hate and envy against those who don’t believe as they believe. Some say that hatred and treason preached from the pulpit is a 1st Amendment Right, but I certainly can’t find that exemption in the very simple and direct language of the amendment. Though I’m sure I’d find it in the legal reinterpretations of this amendment.
      To me, however, it seems as if we have a number of organizations with different objectives and obeying different rules, yet all enjoying a universal exemption from taxation.  

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  4. pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
    December 29, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

    Why do any of us care what Iowa thinks? They have only rarely picked the Republican nominee and even more rarely, the eventual winner of the presidential race. See Michael Barone’s article linked below. Nobody should drop out of the race based on the opinion of Iowa pastors.  

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    • linfComment by lin
      December 29, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

      I agree with you, as usual, but this time with one caveat:  $$$ to the Iowa winners(s) may keep someone in (or out) of the race.  I have long thought the first primaries should be held in varying states, rather than the same ones each year.  Maybe if Paul pulls in enough support in Iowa, they’ll lose their place in line. 

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  5. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    December 29, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

    Why not have Bachmann and Santorum both? One as President and one as Vice-President. That’s a team that would be far, far better than Obama, Biden in every way! 

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  6. ter334Comment by ter334
    December 30, 2011 @ 11:54 am

    IMO pastors should be very careful about publically endorsing a politician from the pulpit because the pols will throw the pastor or anyone else under the bus to get elected.  By all means pastors should address issues that impact the faith of their flock.  Even if I don’t agree with the pastor’s views. 

    An exception is immans and muslims whose heritage is having govt and church (mosque) the same.  This is contrary to the way oujr govt is set up and I for one do not want to end up paying taxes to support mosques or where infidels are taxed more for the privaledge of living under muslim rule as they have in islamic countries.  In islam the koran is essentially their constitution and is actively so.  The bible is not our colnstitution, but many laws are rooted in christian beliefs.  Such as it is illegal to murder people which, I presume, is based on the do not kill commandment.   No legal “honor killings” here.   So what muslims bring to the table here is far more reaching and detrimental to our way of life than their mere claim they are being discriminated against, being profiled or whatever.  Constitutional govt, our Constitution, and islam are incompatible political systems.    

    Also salvation, getting to heaven, is beyond the reach of govt and we will get there by obeying God, not govt.   And there is nothing govt can do about it.   And it is not illegal here to reject God and not want to get to heaven or to convert from one religion to another.  Nor do we go to jail for not going to church, etc. on Sunday or Saturday or 5 times a day.  Nor do we blow ourselves up to get 40 virgins.   Govt is a political operation, and here in America is an unchecked financial operation where there does not seem to be any limit on spending. (Instead of managing/regulating the money in society pols just have a one track mind. Damn the taxpayers debt just spend and create more and more debt.  We elected officials don’t have to pay it off.  Let’s spend and have more fun!)   Govt is not the source of Truth since all they do is make things legal or illegal, not moral, not honorable.  Furthermore govt is not a charitable operation and is not a church, etc. that preaches to us to live the way they think is appropriate.  Preaching too is reserved for religion.  And parents?  God Created us to be free, which has been continued and implemented by our Constitution.  Islam pretty much operates as a police state.

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