After having weighed all possibilities, Sam Brownback has decided to give his endorsement to Senator John McCain, the Associated Press reports. The backing could give McCain support amongst religious conservatives, especially in the critical state of Iowa.
Republican officials say Brownback will announce his support for McCain on Wednesday in Dubuque, Iowa, and then travel with the candidate to campaign in two other cities in the state. Following the Iowa stops, the Detroit News reports that McCain and Brownback will travel back to Michigan where they will hold an afternoon press conference.
The impact of Brownback’s support is unclear, but one possible gain for McCain is the grassroots network of conservative Christian support the Kansas senator had built in Iowa.
Brownback built this group by emphasizing his rock-solid opposition to abortion, gay marriage and other issues important to the party's right flank, but was unable to convince voters to back him.
A former campaign worker for Brownback, Jerry Zandstra, switched his support to John McCain last week saying that he is “the only pro-life candidate in the race with the ability to defeat (Democratic) Sen. Hillary Clinton.”
Zandstra said he will spend the next several weeks trying to “convince other pro-life leaders and Brownback supporters that John McCain is the best candidate for conservatives to support.”
Commenting on the pending announcement of Brownback’s support for McCain, Zandstra told the Detroit News, "I'm just really excited… American voters absolutely love the resurrection story, and this is the resurrection of John McCain. The old man is back."
McCain has had trouble gaining the conservative vote ever since he called Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell ''agents of intolerance'' during his bid for the White House in 2000. In 2004 he met with Falwell to reconcile but conservatives have been slow to forgive his misstep.
Brownback also held talks with Rudy Giuliani two weeks ago and emerged from the meeting with favorable words about the former mayor and his beliefs. His words caused a backlash from Brownback supporters because of Giuliani’s well known views in favor of abortion and homosexuality.
Nevertheless, the outcome of Brownback’s McCain endorsement remains to be seen as the political picture undergoes more definition in the coming months.