Assessing GOP endorsements


Endorsements can work two ways: They can draw support to a candidate or repel it. In the GOP primary campaigns, there are both.

Rick Santorum announced Tuesday that his candidacy has received the endorsement of Florida anti-gay activist John Stemberg and national right-wing activist Richard Viguerie. He’s also recently received the endorsement of anti-gay activist Maggie Gallagher, former board chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, American Values president Gary Bauer, and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has earned the endorsement of American Family Association founder Don Wildmon, Concerned Women for America founder Beverly LaHaye, Liberty Counsel chairman Matt Staver, and pro-Proposition 8 activist Jim Garlow.

Mitt Romney, on Monday, announced that his candidacy has been endorsed by Jay Sekulow of the conservative American Center for Law and Justice. And on Saturday, he won the endorsement of former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman as Huntsman announced his own resignation from the Republican presidential field.

One Romney endorser who drew particular ire this month was Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The Human Rights Campaign sent out a statement January 11, criticizing Romney for accepting the endorsement of the virulently anti-gay state official.            According to HRC, Kobach made a statement in 2004 characterizing HRC and other groups that work for the civil rights of LGBT people as promoting “homosexual pedophilia.”

And HRC President Joe Solmonese criticized Romney for trying to have it “both ways.”

“He can’t tell an audience in New Hampshire that he has a strong record of opposing discrimination against LGBT Americans and then tell people in South Carolina the next day that he stands proudly with someone who equates being gay with pedophilia.”

“Romney has a long track record of wild flip-flops on LGBT issues,” said Solmonese, in his statement.  “This is perhaps the most glaring example to date that he is a dangerous candidate who will say whatever it takes to get elected.”

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