Politics

Iowa Republicans Behind Closed Doors, The Search For One, Anti-Romney Candidate

"Oh, no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors..." -Charlie Rich

Fox News has learned there will be another meeting Monday of what could be called Iowa's ‘Coalition of the Anxious'.

After the Thanksgiving weekend is over, some of Iowa's social conservative leaders will gather for a second time.

"There is a lot of concern from different organizations and churches who want to know is there a candidate who can defeat Mitt Romney?", says Bob Vander Plaats.

Vander Plaats, CEO of The Family Leader, was not at the 1st meeting but was briefed on it.

Vander Plaats explains social conservatives have become nervous that Romney, despite sparingly visiting Iowa, could walk away with a victory in the first-in-the-nation nominating contest.

"(Romney) has managed to hold on residual support (from his 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign)", notes Vander Plaats.

Indeed, Romney has been the one candidate this year always in the top tier on every presidential preference poll in Iowa, placing no worse than third in any survey.

Social conservatives in Iowa have had an open distaste for Romney. Bob Vander Plaats, CEO of The Family Leader, another social conservative group says, "(Romney) has been passionate on both sides of every issue."

At the top of list of gripes by social conservatives about Romney are the former Massachusetts governor's evolved positions on abortion and gay marriage. Once pro-choice and supportive of pro-gay marriage candidates, now Romney says he is pro-life and does not support same sex couples marrying.

A person at the first closed-door meeting on November 21st tells Fox News representatives of Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, Iowa Right-to-Life, better than a dozen pastors were there. But the best the group could in over three-hours of discussion was whittle down the list of Romney alternatives to four candidates: Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.

While some Iowa social conservatives continue to plot against Romney, there are other private meetings with different agendas.

The Des Moines Register reports Romney met yesterday in Iowa with influential Republican businessman, Bruce Rastetter.

Rastetter, earlier this year, led a group of Iowa businessmen on a visit with New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie in an unsuccessful attempt to get Christie to enter the White House race. Christie has since endorsed Romney.

While it may be tempting to believe a Romney endorsement is in the works, Fox News has learned Rastetter's meeting one-on-one with Newt Gingrich on Tuesday.

Gingrich is the current leader in Iowa Caucus polling. Rastetter's decision on an endorsement could come late next week.

Steve Brown is an author, radio broadcaster and seminary professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.