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DeSantis nabs 50 endorsements from Iowa faith leaders before caucus

DES MOINES, Iowa — Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis secured 50 new endorsements from pastors and faith leaders across Iowa, bringing him up to more than 150 total, The Post has learned.

The new supporters come in the final stretch before Iowa’s caucus on Monday, where the Florida governor is aiming to defeat GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

All the new endorsers plan to caucus for DeSantis.

The religious backing is especially important in Iowa, where strong evangelical support drove Ted Cruz to victory in 2016 over Trump as he and Desantis have been competing to court evangelical voters.

In the days leading up to the caucus, Trump has stressed his role in protecting pro-life policies, saying he was president when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Last week, the Trump campaign announced the former president had secured more than 300 endorsements from faith leaders in all 99 counties in Iowa, outpacing DeSantis.

The governor, who is a Catholic, has stressed his support from religious leaders in Iowa in a bid to turn the tide away from his fellow Florida man Trump, 77, who is polling 35 points above him in the Hawkeye State.

DeSantis, 45, launched his Faith and Freedom Coalition in September to push his message of “God over Government” and to spread his policies defending religious freedom.


On Friday, DeSantis told reporters he still plans to win the Iowa caucus, urging voters to tun out to vote despite the weather.
On Friday, DeSantis told reporters he still plans to win the Iowa caucus, urging voters to turn out to vote despite the weather. AP

The new endorsers argued DeSantis is a “true man of unwavering faith and defender of religious liberty” and has convictions that are “based upon principles of faith and a Christian worldview.”

“Other candidates talk, but Ron DeSantis is a true man of unwavering faith and defender of religious liberty who we can trust to unite our nation and revive America. I will be honored to support him on caucus night and encourage my fellow Iowans to do the same,” said Pastor Jeff Moes of Sunnybrook Community Church in Woodbury.

DeSantis has also earned the endorsement of evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats, who has campaigned with him throughout Iowa and has urged voters to turn out to beat Trump.

On Thursday, Vander Plaats predicted that DeSantis would win the Iowa caucuses, but only with the “help” of Iowa voters.


Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks with a member of the audience after speaking at a Northside Conservatives Club Meeting at The District in Ankeny, Iowa, Friday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks with a member of the audience at a Northside Conservatives Club Meeting at The District in Ankeny, Iowa, Friday. AP

Rival Nikki Haley, 51, has been less aggressive in courting religious leaders as she’s taken a more middle-of-the-road approach on abortion.

The former UN ambassador and Ssouth Carolina governor has said she’s “unapologetically pro-life,” but that abortion has been too politicized.

“The Democrats put fear in women on abortion, and Republicans have used judgment,” Haley said at Wednesday’s debate on CNN. “This is too personal of an issue to put fear or judgment. Our goal should be, how do we save as many babies as possible and support as many moms as possible? That’s what we’re gonna focus on doing. We’re not going to demonize this issue anymore. We’re not going to play politics with this issue anymore.”

The amount of religious endorsements doesn’t amount to a one-to-one ratio of who will turn out at the polls, but does indicate general tendencies, Rutgers University professor of political history David Greenberg told The Post.

“It’s probably safe to surmise that this reflects some overall popularity with evangelical voters, who are an important force in the Iowa Republican caucuses,” Greenberg said.

Per the RealClearPolitics average, Trump is polling at 53%, beating out Haley (17.8%) and DeSantis (15.5%).

Written by SaleemBaloch

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