David Barton, a self-styled constitutional expert who founded the socially conservative WallBuilders organization, has endorsed Bob Vander Plaats for governor:
“Bob Vander Plaats epitomizes the leadership our Founding Fathers envisioned when they stood up for our individual liberties,” Barton said in a prepared statement. “He knows that it’s the hard work and unfettered creative spirit of individuals made this country and states like Iowa great. He knows that more bureaucracies, more government employees, higher taxes and increased government spending will crush Iowa. And, he’ll articulate that message in winning fashion.”
Here’s some background on Barton’s vision for America, chock full of Biblical interpretations supporting right-wing public policies. Barton spoke to the Iowa Christian Alliance this fall (click that link to watch videos). His organization hosts a large annual “ProFamily Legislators Conference.”
Barton’s endorsement may help Vander Plaats raise money from around the country as well as recruit volunteers in Iowa. Vander Plaats will particularly need financial support from out of state in order to compete with Terry Branstad, who built relationships with many major donors and local activists during his four terms as governor.
I’ll be curious to see whether conservative activists looking to “take back the Republican Party” through primaries will focus on Iowa’s gubernatorial race in the winter and spring. Vander Plaats already has the backing of former presidential candidate and current Fox TV host Mike Huckabee as well as pop culture icon Chuck Norris. Vander Plaats also was featured on the cover of Focus on the Family’s national magazine in November.