DES MOINES, Iowa – An influential evangelical Christian advocacy group in Iowa is expected to endorse a Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential election Thursday morning.
The Family Leader, whose president, Bob Vander Plaats, is regarded in the state as a “Republican kingmaker,” will announce its endorsement in the Rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol Thursday at 11 a.m. The social conservative political organization, which is loosely affiliated with the national group, Focus on the Family, endorsed Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012 – both of whom went on to win the Iowa caucuses in those years.
Many believe The Family Leader will endorse either Dr. Ben Carson or Sen. Ted Cruz Thursday; both candidates are favorites of Iowa evangelical voters. In November, Iowa Representative Steve King endorsed Cruz – a move he hadn’t made since endorsing Fred Thompson in 2008. Rep. King’s influence with Iowa social conservatives will surely affect Cruz’s chances in Iowa, and a second endorsement from Vander Plaats’ camp would strongly position the Texas senator in the state ahead of the February caucuses.
According to its website, The Family Leader “provides a consistent, courageous voice in the churches, in the legislature, in the media, in the courtroom, in the public square…always standing for God’s truth.”