Potential Iowa GOP kingmaker conflicted about endorsing
December 26th, 2011
05:49 PM ET
3 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. BeverlyNC

    That's the problem with the Republican Party. They have forgotten we are a Democracy created by and for the PEOPLE. Republicans are looking to create "kings" not servants of the People. President Obama is our President who has not forgotten his role is to lead the nation for the best interest of the PEOPLE. I stand with my President. He is the only intelligent, reasonable, hard-working, successful, solution-creating man with values who is already a proven LEADER.

    December 27, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. The Greedy Old PIgs have declared class war on US!

    "Sure there you would be guaranteed to achieve your full success."

    See, when extreme rightwing Fakes News screechmonkeys like you show up, you can't help but reveal your defective intellect. No one here has ever said success should be "guaranteed." That is known as a "strawman" (replying to an argument you invented, rather than the one being discussed). You really need to go back to the kids table until you can grow up enough to be intellectually honest.

    PS: I remain her because this is my country, and I care about it.

    December 27, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Steve

    Still not seeing why we would not want other countries to pick up the world policeman tab, especially given that we can still outspend them militarily by multiples WITH cutting the budget.

    December 27, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. PJ

    I hope he realizes what a phoney Romney is and how disliked he is throughout the country. Flipflop doesn't cut it anywhere despite his millions and amounts he and his Utah friends are willing to contribute.

    December 27, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. judith

    Indeed, those "Greedy Old Pigs" are completely out of touch with ordinary working people. Their refusal to roll back the moron Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy exemplifies their contempt for the 99%. I also think a very apt name for them is "Guardians of the Plutocracy." Look at every idea that Gingrich or Romney proposes–all guaranteed to ensure that the rich get richer at the expense of the worker bees.

    December 27, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. Ted

    Can't pick a horse when the farm is full of idiots. It is time for these old geezers to quit and go home.

    December 27, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  7. fernace

    This is disgusting! How can we the people of our nation allow this kind of crap to continue!? WE are the people who should have the power to select our government officials, not a few select rich, fat cat "Kingmakers"! I would not vote for Any One endorsed by such a person, it's my only recourse to take my power back until we outlaw this type of monopoly!!

    December 27, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  8. No Resurrection

    The very fact Rick Santorum is at the very bottom of the GOP list and has been since the start speaks volumes about his candidacy. Steve, you aren't Jesus, You Just Can't Resurrect the Dead no matter how hard you try!

    December 27, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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