Christian Coalition Officer Backs Romney

By JIM DAVENPORT
The Associated Press
Thursday, March 22, 2007; 10:10 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A Christian Coalition of America officer who ran a successful campaign to ban gay marriage in South Carolina said Thursday he is endorsing Republican Mitt Romney's presidential bid and will work for the campaign.

Drew McKissick, the national coalition's secretary and board member, will be a paid "South Carolina grass roots adviser" for the campaign, Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said Thursday.

McKissick, who also is co-chairman of the South Carolina GOP's rules committee, said his endorsement of the former Massachusetts governor has nothing to do with his own role with the Christian Coalition.

Gitcho and McKissick said there was no link between the endorsement and the paid campaign job.

"I started to go through this process a year ago," McKissick said of the endorsement. "It became obvious to me who was likely be the consensus conservative choice."

The campaign declined to say how much McKissick would be paid.

Last year, Romney's political action committee donated $5,000 to McKissick's SC for Marriage group, which pushed a state constitutional amendment that prevents any type of legal recognition of same-sex unions. While the group solicited cash from other presidential hopefuls, Romney was the only one to write a check, McKissick said.

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DENVER (AP) _ Colorado Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, an outspoken advocate of an immigration crackdown, said Thursday he would decide within two weeks whether to run for president.

Tancredo formed an exploratory committee in January, and his campaign stops have included Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. He has hired a campaign manager in New Hampshire, the state with the first presidential primary.

Spokesman Alan Moore said Tancredo's late March campaign finance report will show he has raised more than $1 million in donations, but Moore said money would not be the only factor in Tancredo's decision.

"It's a big personal decision," Moore said. "It's about support, something he has to talk over with his family."

Tancredo has conceded he is an underdog but describes himself as an alternative for GOP voters unhappy with other Republicans. He has staked out conservative positions on social issues, opposing abortion rights, gay marriage and federal financing of embryonic stem cell research.


© 2007 The Associated Press