Washington (CNN) - After weeks of speculation, religious conservative Bob Vander Plaats has announced he will not run for Senate in Iowa.
Vander Plaats’ possible entrance into the June primary worried some Republicans who believed he would have hurt their chances of wresting this Senate seat from Democratic hands if he had won the GOP nomination. While Vander Plaats is a popular figure among Christian conservatives, his candidacy may have alienated centrist Republicans and politically moderate independent voters, which are key to winning in a general election.
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - One of the most influential Christian leaders in Iowa told Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum "he needed money to promote the endorsement" of the candidate, Santorum told CNN on Wednesday.
The conversation between Santorum and Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of the Iowa-based The Family Leader, happened before Vander Plaats personally endorsed Santorum on Tuesday.
Fairfield, Iowa (CNN) - Prior to making his endorsement, influential Iowa conservative Bob Vander Plaats approached Rick Santorum and asked him to consider dropping out of the Republican presidential race, the candidate said Wednesday.
CNN first broke the news Tuesday evening that Vander Plaats, the president and CEO of The Family Leader, asked Michele Bachmann to consider dropping her bid or joining forces with another candidate.
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – One of the most influential Christian leaders in Iowa asked for help in raising money to promote his endorsement of Rick Santorum's presidential campaign, according to the Des Moines Register Tuesday. The request came prior to Bob Vander Plaats' announcement backing Santorum on Tuesday.
Yet the president and CEO of The Family Leader, whose endorsement was personal and not of his organization, vehemently denied any notion he would ask a candidate or a campaign for money.
Mt. Pleasant, Iowa (CNN) - Republican hopeful Rick Santorum must have been at least a little confused Tuesday morning around the time he received the endorsement of Bob Vander Plaats of the influential conservative group The Family Leader.
He was first told by someone at an event that Rick Perry would be getting the nod.
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – Prominent Iowa faith leader Bob Vander Plaats asked Michele Bachmann to dramatically alter her White House plans, according to the Bachmann campaign, including the possibility of dropping her presidential bid altogether.
"[Bob] Vander Plaats called us on Saturday and asked us to consider the possibility of merging with another candidate," Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart told CNN. "He did not say whether we should be president or vice presidential candidate."
Urbandale, Iowa (CNN) – In explaining their Tuesday endorsement of Rick Santorum, two top Iowa evangelical leaders essentially said they hope other Republican presidential hopefuls will end their campaigns - and coalesce around one candidate.
"What I would say instead of 'drop out' is to say, 'Why can't the top three or so pro-family candidates come together and figure out who has the talents for president, who has the talents for other roles within the federal government whether its attorney general, secretary of state, vice president, health and human services secretary?" said Chuck Hurley, vice president of the Iowa-based Christian group, The Family Leader.
(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania received the personal endorsement of Bob Vander Plaats, who heads the Family Leader, Tuesday. The Iowa-based Christian organization is influential among social conservative voters in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
The endorsement comes just two weeks before the Jan. 3 caucuses, which kick off the primary and caucus calendar.
Four years ago, the Family Leader backed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who went on to score an upset victory in the Iowa caucuses.
(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was initially “taken aback” by a pro-marriage pledge that asks presidential candidates to promise personal fidelity to their spouses, but said he ultimately decided to sign it.
“When I first read it, I was taken aback by it. I can't argue that I wasn't,” the former Pennsylvania senator said in an interview airing Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
(CNN) - Iowa Republican gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad learned Friday that he won't face an independent challenge from his former GOP primary opponent Bob Vander Plaats.
But the leftover hard feelings from the contentious primary - Branstand won the nomination on June 8 by nine points - were barely concealed as Vander Plaats took to the steps of the Iowa Judicial Building in Des Moines and broke a lengthy silence about his political future.
Vander Plaats, whose bid was fueled by social conservatives, said he would not seek the governorship as an independent and announced an effort aimed at unseating Iowa Supreme Court justices who legalized same-sex marriage in the state.
But Vander Plaats refused to play loyal GOP solider and declined to endorse Branstad in his effort to unseat Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat.