Congressman Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, recently announced his endorsement for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Mr. Franks, a social and fiscal conservative, is among the few current lawmakers on Capitol Hill who is not only vocally supporting a GOP presidential primary candidate but also supporting a candidate who is not former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the current front runner. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, South Carolina Republican, is currently endorsing Texas Governor Rick Perry.
“It is certainly not politically advantageous for me to endorse someone…especially someone that’s in second place in the polls,” Rep. Franks told me on Monday night in Myrtle Beach after the GOP debate. “I don’t do it because I’m trying to promote myself politically. I do it because I think it’s the right thing for the party and the country.”
Rep. Franks realizes the risks involved in endorsing a presidential candidate in the primaries. While he described his colleagues on the hill as “smart” for being politically safe and not endorsing anyone during the primaries, he also said, “The truth is there’s no real self-promoting advantage to making endorsements in a primary. I do it because I want to see this party go in the direction of conservative principles and foundational ideals because I think that’s who we are and what we have to do to stay that way.”
“I understand why people would rather just stay out of it. That’s the safest thing to do. Just stay out. But there’s an old saying,” Rep. Franks explained.
“‘But the hottest place in hell is preserved for those who in times of great moral crisis preserve their neutrality.’ I don’t say that out of a mean contentious attitude. I just mean that, sometimes, we have to stand up for what we believe,” he said.
“In this case, I don’t say that Newt Gingrich is the perfect candidate, but he is someone who will articulate our principles best in the field that we have present before us. And I think (he) will dismantle Mr. Obama in a debate and carry the day for this country, and we might have a chance to save the Republic,” he added.