If the splintering of the Iowa social conservative vote paves the way for a Mitt Romney or Ron Paul victory next Tuesday--as polls suggest it might--then talk show endorsements Friday may come to represent the split among the most sizeable voting bloc in the first-in-the-nation caucuses.
Steve Deace, an Iowa radio host who wields significant clout among the state’s social conservatives, late Friday announced his endorsement of former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R).
The move comes as former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has been rising in the polls while Gingrich has been in free fall. It also comes as some influential evangelical leaders backing Santorum have called for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to drop out, and vice versa.
“Sadly, there are only two candidates offering a real means by which to actually undo that which the Left has done to this country for the past 50 years, and not just conservative platitudes,” Deace writes in his endorsement of Gingrich. “One of those candidates is Ron Paul, but his foreign policy is naive at best and reckless at worst. The other is Newt Gingrich, who has campaigned on what I believe is the most important issue facing us as a people—the loss of the rule of law.”
Deace praises Gingrich’s “vital” assistance in last year’s Iowa judicial retention effort, which resulted in the ouster of three state Supreme Court justices who in 2009 ruled in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.
Gingrich provided $200,000 in “seed money” in that effort, according to The Associated Press, and has made the issue of judges a central part of his message in his push to win over Iowa conservatives.
Deace – who was among Romney’s most vocal critics in 2008 – writes in his endorsement of Gingrich that “electing another Obamney from the ruling class changes nothing. Electing another nice conservative with no proven ability to govern or a killer instinct to take on the system changes nothing, even if it makes us all feel warm and fuzzy inside.”
Meanwhile, another prominent Iowa radio personality – British-born host Simon Conway, who also happens to be Deace’s successor at Des Moines-based WHO Radio – on Friday announced his endorsement of a different presidential contender: Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R).
In a lengthy statement, Conway explains that he was deciding between Bachmann and Perry and that “I can only choose one of these two and so I have finally decided that my one vote, if I were to exercise that right, would go to Rick Perry.”
Conway adds, “His executive experience in running Texas is what pushed him over the winning line for me. I truly hope that as president, Rick Perry will persuade Michele Bachmann to serve in a very senior capacity within his administration because you can never have too many very smart people of character in any president’s administration.”