Potential Iowa GOP kingmaker conflicted about endorsing
December 26th, 2011
05:49 PM ET
6 years ago

Potential Iowa GOP kingmaker conflicted about endorsing

Washington (CNN) - Iowa GOP Congressman Steve King, whose support is coveted by Republican presidential candidates, said he hoped to endorse one of them months ago. But like many other Iowa Republican voters, he is having a hard time picking a horse in this Republican field.

"I've said all along I want my head and my heart to come together, and when that happens I'll jump in with both feet. That just hasn't happened yet," King told CNN.

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King spoke by phone from his car as he was arriving for a hunting outing with former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania – someone he calls a good friend, but not a candidate he's ready to endorse for president.

The Iowa Republican is a prominent conservative with rock solid credentials. Although Iowa voters are known for their independence, several Iowa Republican operatives tell CNN King's endorsement would be a big boon to any GOP candidate.

But King spoke with a mixture of bewilderment and lament about his inability to make a decision about which candidate to support. He even said he may change his mind and not endorse anyone at all.

"I have not come to the conviction where I can throw my energy behind a single candidate," said King.

Four years ago, King endorsed Fred Thompson, who was lagging behind but then went on to come in third in the Iowa caucuses.

King says this year he very much likes three of the lower tier candidates: Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. Bachmann is one of King's closest friends and political allies in Congress and someone he says he has "great respect for." He made clear one issue he is weighing is whether to back one of these candidates who may not be viable this year, but could be someone he could help position for the next presidential election.

When it comes to Iowa's frontrunners, King had praise for former Speaker Newt Gingrich's economic plans, but called his immigration policies "troubling."

King is one of the biggest hardliners in Congress when it comes to illegal immigration, and Gingrich supports a path to legality for some illegal immigrants.

King said that's not a "deal breaker" but said it does "make it harder" to endorse Gingrich.

The Iowa Republican had the harshest words for his congressional colleague, Ron Paul – particularly on the issue of foreign policy.

King recalled asking Paul what he would do with the military as commander in chief, and said Paul effectively answered that he would bring U.S. armed forces serving overseas back home.

"I do not want the Chinese knocking at our door, who would fill the power vacuum, as would the Russians, as would anybody else out there with aspirations. I think that would dramatically upset the balance of power in the world and would be something that could go down in history as one of the greatest mistakes this country would have potentially ever made," said King.

With little more than a week until the Iowa caucuses, King is well aware that time is running out for him to endorse, and if he does, for it to have an impact.

"I just haven't gotten to the point where I am convinced that one is so much better than the others and it's different for me than it is for someone going to the caucus to vote. They can put their vote up and walk away," King told CNN.

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Steve King
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Republicans are just a bunch of liers

    Because they all suck!!! 🙂

    December 26, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  2. TruthSpeaks

    Yeah supporting rick santorum a war monger who wants a war with china.

    December 26, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  3. Bill

    This idiot only wants to support the candidates who have no chance in hell to win? Good luck with that.

    December 26, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. Joseph B

    Is he really a "kingmaker" given his endorsement of Fred Thompson last election? Last I heard, Fred Thompson did not end up being the king, not even the king of the Iowa caucases.

    December 26, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  5. Solidd59

    Could it be he's having a hard time deciding cause they're all unqualified and a joke? Also, doesn't say much for this guy if he has Bachman as one of his top picks!

    December 26, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. Shane from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Kingmaker. What a joke. I realize that its a play on his name, but in all seriousness, the guy is an embarrassment to the state.Why the people out west keep re-electing the guy is beyond me. His position on social issues is just plain scary. Here's hoping the redistricting finally gets this nut booted from office. Believe me, his endorsement ,or any others, doesn't mean squat to most Iowans. We think for ourselves.

    December 26, 2011 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    When he can count in his head what warms the heart of his bank account, he'll announce.

    December 26, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  8. enough of the wicked "O"

    I left Iowa because these people are so stuck in there ways that they cannot see the ;ight past the obama smoke, Iowans need to see the light and see that obama is nothing but a useless pice of DC Trash.

    December 26, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. Perry W

    Is congressman King kin to David Duke? They looK sooo much alike? They even think the same!

    December 26, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    King's dilemma is that he is too radical for the current GOP clown show.

    December 26, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. Joey

    Steve King? Never heard of him. Now that I have, not impressed.

    December 26, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. nintex

    Might just have to endorse President Obama!

    December 26, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. chrisnot

    Considering the participants and their qualifications, I fully understand this gentleman's confusion. However, he did state that he had a great deal of respect for Ms. Bachmann. That certainly confuses me. There must be another Ms. Bachmann about we know nothing about.

    December 26, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. TM

    "Picking a horse" is a very appropriate phrase for this field. King is trying to decide on the best northbound end of a southbound field. Regardless of what he eventually does, he needs to watch his step if he wants to keep his shoes.

    December 26, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. MMallon

    I'm sorry to hear Rep. King is not interested in endorsing Dr. Paul. But when he says he is great friends with Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann, I am not surprised. That is not an attack against his character, just an observation that they move in very, very different circles.

    December 26, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  16. Keith in Austin

    When all the dust settles, the mere fact that Obama has no positive record to run on will lead to his demise! His ongoing blame games and vitriolic attempts to divide our Nation via social class will NOT wash among Independent Voters. Clearly, the electorate is split. 40 percent will vote for Democrats and 40 percent will vote Republican. Independents will determine the winner and unfortunately for Obama, historically, they vote on a Candidate's RECORD and not political grandstanding or vicious hyperbole! Bad news for Barry in 2012 for sure!! In short, his past- actions speak much louder than his current words!

    December 26, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  17. 5041360

    steve is a right wing nut job- it matters not what he thinks- he can't.

    December 26, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  18. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Sweetheart.....it's not going to make one damn bit of difference whom you endorse............have fun........!The result is already written in the sands of time!!!!!

    December 26, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Sometimes I get to wondering.......you who review these crazy things written by the public.....do you wonder just whom and what the writers are? It would be like a game trying to figure out whether they were young....old....educated....stupid....etc.I personally think it would be a blast !!!!!!!

    December 26, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    Like all social conservatives, King is a neanderthal.

    December 26, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  21. Chris

    Even the Republicans know there are no great Republican candidates! It's kind of like picking your favorite clown from the clown car.

    December 26, 2011 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I'm not surprised. There is little to like in all the candidates that are out there. I can imagine that he would wait until the last minute to endorse someone. That would reduce the risk of his endorsement being so overwhelming that it could hurt him with those that feel hurt by the snub.

    December 26, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  23. JonDie

    Ah, so many to chose from...and none of them is worth a damn.

    December 26, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  24. ernie64

    The fact that a complete idiot like Rep. King is considered a kingmaker in Iowa tells a lot about the state of GOP today. Anybody remember his ramblings at the CPAC in 2008? He tried to 'educate' the audience on the differences between followers of various leftist ideologies (enemies of American people, according to him): 'maoists', 'cheguevarites', 'castroites', 'gramscites', like anybody there had ever heard about them. In other words, a chief ignoramus leading a crowd of ignoramuses! Hilarious (and sad at the same time)!

    December 26, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  25. mk1

    Steven King's endorsement will guarantee that I never vote for that person, ever.

    December 26, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
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