Who Would Jesus Elect? This question was put to 5,775 conservative religious voters during a straw poll at this past weekend's Washington Briefing, a gathering of leaders of the religious right and Republican presidential candidates at the Hilton in Washington, D.C.
The results? Former governors Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, a Mormon and a Baptist, respectively, topped the charts in a statistical tie. Interestingly, the next highest vote-getter was Libertarian candidate Ron Paul, who is a favorite among my friends here in Illinois. Kansas senator Sam Brownback came in 6th place in spite of the fact that he dropped out of the race on Friday, the first day of the conference.
1. (27.62%) Mitt Romney
2. (27.15%) Mike Huckabee
3. (14.98%) Ron Paul
4. (9.77%) Fred Thompson
Near the bottom appeared national GOP front-runner Rudy Giuliani and struggling former front-runner (and my favorite among the GOP candidates) John McCain.
9. (1.85%) Rudy Giuliani
10. (1.40%) John McCain
I'm interested to watch the favor being shown by religious conservatives to Mitt Romney and underdog Mike Huckabee. Romney is subject to tremendous controversy among religious voters on account of his Mormon faith (growing up in the Southern Baptist Church, I was taught that the Mormon Church was a cult). Huckabee has struggled to gain national significance, although he has recently surged forward in early polls in the early-caucus state of Iowa.
James Dobson took the stage during a gala on Saturday is his honor and expressed his continued frustration with the Republican party. I recommend reading Right Wing Watch's coverage of his speech. He reaffirmed his pledge to vote for a third-party candidate if Rudy Giuliani is selected as the GOP presidential nominee. And he discussed a 2008 scenario that has him quite worried: the possibility that Democrats would "capture the triple crown"--winning the White House and strengthening their present majorities in the House and Senate.
Of that “catastrophic” possibility, Dobson shouted “We can’t let that happen!”Dobson went on to worry aloud about the state legislature of New Jersey, which he fears is on the brink of legalizing same-sex marriage. In his mind, such an act would precipitate legislature approval of same-sex marriage in states along the Eastern and Western seaboards.
“Are we now going to throw [marriage] on the ash-heap of history?" he thundered. "I say NO! Do you agree?” Attendees leapt to their feet cheering.Among the conservative interest groups distributing information and merchandise at the event were some fringe causes that made for some fun photos for a photographer for Right Wing Watch. Check out these images of a funny ad from Exodus (ex-gay ministry), a stack of "Change or Die" t-shirts protesting radical Islam and multiculturalism, and a booth so bizarre I want to laugh and say "huh?" at the same time.
Hat tips: NPR, Ex-Gay Watch, Right Wing Watch, Christian Post