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By Tammy Bruce
Topic - Bob Vander Plaats
As the 2014 election cycle begins to take shape, the candidates jockeying for position in the crowded GOP Senate primary are all trying to break away from the pack as the best option to take on Democrat Bruce Braley in the fall.
Social conservatives who backed Rick Santorum's presidential campaign said his supporters will get behind Mitt Romney, but warned that the presumptive Republican nominee still has a lot more to do if he wants those activists to man phone banks and knock on doors in the drive to win in November.
As GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum spent Sunday stumping in northwestern Iowa, it was he — and not rival Mitt Romney — who had Mormon Secretary of State Matt Schultz at his side.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has corralled one of the top names in the conservative evangelical movement by winning the endorsement of Donald E. Wildmon, founder and chairman of the American Family Association and American Family Radio, in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
It's like a political horoscope: Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum now appears to be the "rising" candidate, generating timely buzz as his polling numbers edge up, less than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses.
"I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." - Rick Perry
The potent, promising allure of Iowa has drawn all the Republican hopefuls to a pair of significant events this weekend — all except roguish Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr., that is, who prefer New Hampshire.
Recently, I hosted a focus group of undecided voters very likely to take part in the Iowa Straw Poll in August. A cringe-inducing moment came when we asked group members to give their instant reactions to each of the GOP candidates. When former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's name came up, some of things this group of conservatives said included:
Sarah Palin the political pragmatist? Go figure.
In addition, conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats, who heads The Family Leader, said he is considering a bid.