Huckabee backs McCain, but will his followers?
DALLAS – Former White House hopeful Mike Huckabee endorsed Sen. John McCain as he dropped out of the Republican presidential race on Tuesday night. But the million-dollar question is: will his network of evangelical supporters follow his lead?
Evangelicals not only lean heavily Republican, they are also among the party’s most energetic activists and Huckabee tapped networks that any GOP candidate could use in a close race.
The Huckabee machine included “homeschoolers” who volunteered for him in droves. The energy of those conservative Christians — who as their name suggests educate their children at home in part to shield them from the secular world — would be welcomed by the McCain camp.
Young conservative bloggers formed another part of Team Huckabee, getting the word out to Christian circles when he was still a relative unknown, and it will be of interest to see where this chattering class now tilts.
As the Republican field narrowed, McCain picked up a larger share of the evangelical vote in the state-by-state nomination battles suggesting that he already has made inroads with this group.
But conservative Christian heavyweights such as James Dobson, founder and chairman of the advocacy group Focus on the Family, has already said that he won’t vote for McCain because of his support for stem-cell research and other positions that are beyond the Religious Right’s pale.
One thing is certain: this is an area that will be keenly watched.
– Photo credit: Reuters/John Gress