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August 15, 2011

After Pawlenty's Exit: Who Will Win Over Evangelical Republicans?

Tim Pawlenty ended his campaign for the Republican nomination yesterday, the day after Pawlenty ended a distant third in the Ames Straw Poll. The poll is non-binding, but it is an early test of a candidate's campaign strength. Pawlenty's campaign was well-organized, but it did not have the excitement and dedicated following of Rep. Michele Bachmann or Rep. Ron Paul, each of whom finished far above him in the poll.


The departure of Pawlenty is unlikely to shake up the GOP field, but it does raise the question about evangelicals in the Republican party. Pawlenty was the type of candidate that mainstream evangelical leaders would like. In June, 45 percent of the National Association of Evangelicals leadership said Pawlenty was their top-pick for the GOP candidacy. The next favorite pick—“no preference,” followed by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Pawlenty has evangelical bona fides. His pastor is Leith Anderson, president of the NAE who officiated Pawlenty's marriage in 1987.

Pawlenty also had the support of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Standing next to Pawlenty at an event at the Iowa State Fair, Huckabee said, “I’m endorsing the principles of people who will stand for a smaller, more efficient government, lower taxes, the sanctity of life. And I wouldn’t be on this stage if this guy didn’t stand for those things.”

Dave Peterson, a political science professor at Iowa State University, told CT that Pawlenty was the only candidate that was acceptable to everyone, but he couldn't inspire enough voters to be a viable candidate.

“Pawlenty's strategy was a decent one in theory,” said Peterson, who was at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday. “His hope was that there would be a deadlock between candidates who were unacceptable to sizable portions of the party. Social conservatives wouldn't trust Romney, more establishment Republicans wouldn't trust Bachman, and lots of folks wouldn't trust Paul.”

Speaking on ABC's This Week, Pawlenty said the Republican voters this year were looking for a different kind of candidate.

"What I brought forward I thought was a rational, established, credible, strong record of results, based on experience governing – a two-term governor of a blue state – but I think the audience, so to speak, was looking for something different,” Pawlenty said.

This comment was considered to be a thinly veiled critique of Bachmann. Pawlenty focused on his fellow Minnesotan during last week's Iowa debate where he suggested that she was:

-- irrational (“Her answer is illogical”)

-- unestablished (“It's not her spine we're worried about, it's her record of results.”)

-- not credible (“She's got a record of misstating and making false statements”)

-- with no record of results or experience (“In Congress, her record of accomplishment and results is nonexistent.”)

But it was Bachmann who won the straw poll, even though her campaign was less organized than Pawlenty's.

In January, Pawlenty told CT that to build a viable campaign he needed to build name recognition and raise funds. Speaking yesterday, Pawlenty said he needed a stronger showing in the straw poll to keep raising funds.

"We had some success raising money, but we needed to continue that and Ames was a benchmark for that, and if we didn't do well in Ames, we weren't going to have the fuel to keep the car going down the road,” Pawlenty said.

Minnesota Public Radio suggests a Senate run could be Pawlenty's future.

Image via Pawlenty's campaign.


Bachmann only won the straw poll by a slim 152 votes over Ron Paul *IN HER HOME STATE*. Yes, whiel she doesn't represent Iowa she is from there.

Hopefully, evangelicals might begin to understand that Ron Paul is, not only a great candidate, that doesn't sell his faith as political playing. Instead, he lets Christ shine through his good works and will, at times, demonstrate to Christians how he backs up his views with a Christian understanding -- http://www.christianpost.com/news/ron-paul-our-liberties-come-from-our-creator-50858/.

Who will win over "evangelicals"?

Anyone with a good use of catchphrases!!

I am deeply concerned about any Follower of Jesus, "evangelical" or not; who places their hope in a politician. Both the evangelical right and left, (Think James Dobson and Jim Wallis.), have mistakenly placed their hope of establishing the values of God’s Kingdom on earth by doing it through the political process. (This is just like the “social gospel” movement of the early 20th century.) Jesus never told his disciples to go forth into all the world take control of the governments and thus establish the Kingdom. The Church universal must live out the values of the Kingdom in such a way that it reflects the Kingdom; like a lamp on a stand. But we were never called to enforce them by legislation.

Bachmann won because she had the backing of over 100 evangelical pastors in Iowa, and there is no evidence that Pawlenty had that kind of support, despite his "evangelical" credentials. It remains to be seen if Bachmann can maintain and expand that support in the upcoming caucuses. Rick Perry should do well among evangelicals as well. If these two divide the vote among evangelical caucus goers, and Ron Paul gets solid backing from libertarians, it could open up the door for a Romney victory.

Just as Bush played the “born again Christian” card to the max in the 2000 Presidential campaign, so Rick Perry appears to be ready to do in 2012. Dobson and Hagee will be right there for whoever does, irrespective of their policies, provided the rhetoric sounds good. G.W. Bush was never held accountable by evangelical Christian voters for his unconstitutional conduct. All they cared about was Bush’s Christian rhetoric. And it does appear that is all they care about today. As a result, Rick Perry will prove to be a formidable candidate in the GOP primaries.

Before we talk about Rick Perry’s commitment to prayer and fasting, let’s find out if Rick Perry believes that there must be a Declaration of War before America begins invading, bombing, and
occupying foreign countries. Let’s find out if he supports the Patriot Act. Let’s find out if he believes the US government has the authority to use super-computers and advanced technology to continue
to turn the United States into a giant surveillance-society. Let’s find out how serious he is about closing that southern border: speaking of which, what did Rick Perry do as governor of the border
State of Texas to stop illegal immigration?

Both Perry and Bachmann are heavily influenced by Dominionism and the New Apostolic Reformation. Evangelicals should run, not walk, from these heretical fringe groups.

I agree with Keith. We are already citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, which we know will eventually supersede all earthly realms. We also know that all earthly realms (except Israel) belong to Satan, as per Matt. 4. While some improvements might be made, ultimately, they will succumb to the Anti-Christ.

I am from Minnesota and I am a donor Governor Pawlenty's presidential campaign.

I am not surprise by the Governor's failure to launch. He's the second choice of everyone, behind Romney with the establishment, behind Bachmann with Iowans and the Tea Party, liked by Evangelicals but not their clear choice.

His campaign failed for two reasons: 1) His campaign seemed to be satisfied with, indeed embracing of, the notion that being everyone's second choice would somehow result in winning the nomination; he sought widespread appeal without ever developing a base (contrast with Ron Paul, who has developed a base while shunning widespread appeal) and 2) His candidacy did not ever articulate a rationale. Why was he running? Why should we vote for him? He put forth a lot of ideas and messages, but never a rationale.

These are basic mistakes, made routinely by candidates running for their first office. They should not be made by professionals running presidential campaigns. Perhaps a decent campaign manager who had actually held the top job running campaigns would have served TPaw well.

Oh yeah I forgot!

In addition to a good use of catchphrases, whoever is best at lip service.


I advise all christians - democrats, republications, etc - to support Ron Paul. I believe we need someone who has demonstrated honesty and a voting record that is consistent with what he says.

Our country is desperately in need of someone who simply speaks the truth. If you can find me any other candidate other than Ron Paul, who speaks more honestly, let me know.

Why trust in someones promises, when you can trust in a demonstrated, truthful track record?

Ron Paul has two very unique qualities as a candidate. He is both wrong and dangerous. As libertarian has an extreme limited view of government that goes way beyond small government. He cares little for the poor. His views on national security are dangerous.

R Spencer,

If you're going to throw libel at a candidate--especially a candidate who is
a fellow brother in Christ--at least offer some talking points to back up and defend your view of him in discussion.

The Republican party is morally bankrupt. It serves only the interests of the wealthy elite, regardless of how bad this might be for the population at large.
This is definitely NOT what Jesus would stand for.
I can't understand why Evangelicals support them so blindly.
Something's gone very wrong with Christian teaching in the US.

R Spencer,

Your comment shows the sort of ignorance that goes with the establishment loathing of Ron Paul.

"As libertarian has an extreme limited view of government that goes way beyond small government."

Really? He says the federal government is limited to those things expressly granted to it in the Constitution and nothing else. From there it's state law, then local law, then community expectation. Hey, that's the view that Jefferson took! That Jefferson must have been some kind of Cuh-RAZY extremist!

"He cares little for the poor."

Really? Ask some of the poor women in Texas who were still able to see Dr Paul and have their babies birthed for next to nothing. Dr Paul didn't participate in medicare/medicaid because he didn't accept the concept as legitimate, but he would still scale payments based on what people could afford.

"His views on national security are dangerous."

No, they're not. The status quo view on national security is dangerous. The Arab-led middle east is a friggin' hornet's nest and we've been poking at it non-stop for the better part of a century. If we just stopped poking, 9/11 wouldn't happen. The extremist/terrorist Muslim groups formed as a reaction to our presence. As for the Iran/nuke debate, it's not like Paul's endorsing they get one. He's merely saying that we can't play the role of glorified international gun control. It's literally impossible.

And before anyone says anything like "Here come the Paultards," let me make something clear:

I am not Amos Paul, nor am I Daniel.

I've read all these accusations that the Ron Paul support on the internet is fabricated, that it's just a couple guys registering hundreds of different accounts, tunneling through different IPs, to force the issue.

No. Not true. If you look and listen to RP followers, you'll find there's lots of them, and they come from all different backgrounds. Some of them *are* a little nutty: they fall into the same weird conspiracy theories that lead to the delegitimizing of the Tea Party movement (i.e. - 9/11 conspiracies, Obama birther movement, "Obama is a Muslim," etc). But the point is that we're all individuals, we have different takes, and while we don't all agree 100% with Ron Paul's politics, we agree that the main issues for our federal government to correct are fiscal policy (70+ years of Keynesian economics is killing us) and foreign policy (playing world police is a bad idea, and it's also killing us).

I don't want to be cynical. I want to believe people can think and make decisions for themselves. So my hope is that the evangelicals open their eyes, see PANDERING for what it is, and vote with their conscience instead of following identity politics.

"I'm an Iowan! I'm an Evangelical!" / "Look at me, I'm fasting and praying!" Those who announce it already got their reward...

Name the candidate...

1) Is an OBGYN that has never performed an abortion.
2) Believes in the at conception definition of life.
3) Believes in peace, just as Christ did, who was called the "prince of peace".
4) Believes in personal liberties, just as Christ did. If Christ wanted people to be forced to do the right thing, he would never have let himself be crucified, and he would've setup an earthly kingdom.

If you really think about it, Ron Paul is the most Christ-like candidate in the election.

Dear Readers,
I am a Born again Christian. I am voting for Ron Paul. In Christ you have Liberty. Ron Paul is the only candidate who belives in Liberty. Some claim to be Christians. Ron Paul lives it.

I think it was interesting in the Iowa debate how

-only one candidate isn't haunted by previously political actions or votes

-only one candidate that didn't have to toot his own horn

-only one candidate that doesn't USE and ABUSE HIS FAITH IN JESUS to get votes

Ron Paul is the man for the people. He is humble and he wants to serve not rule. Ron Paul 2012

I actually did not suspect much less that Ron Paul supporters were trolling comments boards, but now I know they are! It's all about pacing. . .

I appreciate that I've been insinuated to be a "Paultard" or a troll. That's so Christ-Like of everyone here. I'm actually embarrassed of the typos I made in my first post (which I composed on my iPod >_

But instead of throwing libel at Paul and accusing his followers of being trolls, why don't people disagree with im in the form of actual objections that open up discussion? I posted a long to a major Christian publication that quotes Paul using Scripture to defend his views. No one has responded to the claims therein. I also stated that Paul doesn't generally use his fiath or the name of Christ as a political playing card. No one seems to care.

We Christians need to realize that the politicians who profess Christ left and right are *pulling the wool over our eyes*. They need to let Christ show in policy and actions. Attacking countries around the world, violating international policy, and murdering 1,000s foreign civilians as 'casualities of war' is not letting Christ show in action.

The comments here are almost enough to get me to quit reading this blog. Ugh.

First of all, it doesn't matter what we want! God determines who should be leader based on the hearts of the people and places that leader. So, we are to ask God who he has chosen and vote for that leader. By the way, the Antichrist will seem godly and Christlike at first, then show his true colors later. This is why we ask God. We don't know anyone's heart and we don't know what God's plan is.

In America, it seems that religion and politics can sometimes go hand in hand; it doesn't really happen that often in England where I am from, and really doesn't seem to happen in most of the rest of Europe either. I think that when people mix religion and politics, in this case Christianity and politics, we should all be very careful! People, even the best of people, even the best of Christians, can find the influence and power of politics and faith intoxicating, and this can blind jugdement.

There are a few theocracies in the world; but if yu look closely at them, religion seems to be used to control people and allow a relative handful of people to lord it over others, with no checks or balances on that power. Power is the key word! It may be best to separate religion from politics; but what do I know?!

You know, I think I will do my OWN research on who to vote for instead of paying attention to a few confrontational anonymous posters on some web site flooding an article with their comments.

I started to skeptically look into Ron Paul's record and philosophy about two months ago, and after doing so, discovered that what I had been taught by mainstream christian political thought had been completely wrong all this time. After doing my fact-checking, I came to see Paul as the only seriously christian candidate in the entire field.. And when I say "christian" I mean the candidate that imitated Christ and his ways the most. There are many candidates that play the evangelical card, and even do a lot of things that would appear to support the cause of Christianity, but what I've discovered in my searching is that many of these candidates merely talk the talk to gain evangelical support, but a closer look at the candidate's legislative record or political philosophy often reveals subtle contradictions within their own philosophy or within the words and teachings of Christ. PLEASE investigate the so-called "christian choice" candidates, after earnestly doing so, I'm confident that you would find many of the same things that I have found and have come to believe in politically. As far the candidates however, I'm a full-fledged Ron Paul supporter. Character over charisma.

Before endorsing any politicians ..every Christian should read very , very carefully the new testament . The "teacher of the law " or the religious leaders of Jesus time where the ones who nailed him to the Cross ...
and the so called " Republicans Christians" are doing the same thing ....A true Christian should follow Christ ...But many on that party seem to have forgotten what the true tenets are . Love other as you love yourselves, help the poor , help the sick ..NO FALSE TESTIMONY, and others ...please go read Matthews chapter 5 and 6 .....Chapter 6 verses 18 to 24 are very interesting ..also read Acts chapter 4 verses 32 to 36 ........and really open your eyes to the true values of christianity .....
May God help you to understand