On the heels of a very well-attended presidential candidates forum, The Family Leader has begun deliberations on which Republican candidate will get the endorsement of the Iowa social conservative organization.
After a meeting of The Family Leader board of directors Monday night, two candidates were eliminated from consideration, Ron Paul and Herman Cain.
A press release on the first round of deliberations by The Family Leader says Herman Cain was eliminated from endorsement consideration because he lacked clarity on the "issues of life, marriage, foreign policy, and presidential readiness".
Ron Paul was removed from the list due to issues the board had with the Texas Congressman's positions on " ‘States' Rights' as it pertains to the sanctity of human life and God's design for marriage."Still in the running for the endorsement are Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. The next board meeting to continue deliberations has not been scheduled."It would be my preference and the board's preference that we would endorse a (Vander Plaats' emphasis) candidate," said CEO Bob Vander Plaats. It's possible the board may endorse more than one candidate, but Vander Plaats worries that may water down the impact of the endorsement.
Vander Plaats says the endorsement process is consideration of a "three-legged stool". Personal core values of the candidate and the candidate's pro-family vision constitute the first two-legs.
"The third leg is ‘Can they beat Obama?', which also has to be ‘Can they beat Romney?', " says Vander Plaats.
Mitt Romney, who been consistently a top-tier candidate in Iowa despite a light campaign schedule there, was not considered for The Family Leader endorsement. Vander Plaats has publically criticized Romney for not taking part in Saturday's candidates forum which reportedly drew a crowd of more than 2,500.
Steve Brown is an author, radio broadcaster and seminary professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.