Cedar Rapids, Ia. – Mike Huckabee’s state chairman voiced criticism today about two recent endorsements their Republican presidential campaign didn’t receive.
“I’m discouraged but not surprised,” Bob Vander Plaats said to a group of about 100 in downtown Cedar Rapids. “Our evangelical leaders are playing their hands … to get them a seat at the table.”
Vander Plaats was referencing televangelist Pat Robertson’s recent endorsement of Rudi Giuliani, who has been criticized by religious leaders for being twice divorced and soft on the issue of abortion. Giuliani has a comfortable lead among Republican contenders in national polls.
Vander Plaats also was befuddled by Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback’s endorsement of Arizona Sen. John McCain. Brownback dropped out of the presidential race last month and had been competing with Huckabee for the religious vote in Iowa.
“It just doesn’t make any sense … he hurt himself if he ever plans to mount another campaign,” Vander Platts said.
On Wednesday, Huckabee was publicly indifferent to Brownback’s announcement.
“If I have to choose between him and his supporters, I’ll take his supporters,” he said following an event in Cedar Falls.
Huckabee was greeted this morning with a standing ovation at his last of four events in Iowa in the past two days.
Campaign staff apparently weren’t expecting the large group of people this morning, as they had to bring in more chairs. Some in the audience were left standing, which was also the case at an evening event in Vinton on Wednesday.