Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rand Paul's balancing act in Iowa

Rand Paul tries to balance Iowa's libertarian, evangelical ideals - Washington Times - Ralph Z. Hallow:

April 9, 2015 - "In the coalition-building exercise that occurs every four years during a Republican presidential race, libertarians and evangelicals have always been wary of each other. Nowhere has that been more obvious than the first-in-the-nation contest state of Iowa, which has given surprising lifts to evangelical favorites such as Pat Robertson and Mike Huckabee over the years.

"That history would suggest that Rand Paul, the iconic libertarian in the 2016 race, might have much to worry about Feb. 2 when the Iowa caucuses are held.

"But the senator from Kentucky has spent much time and effort over the past two years building essential bridges to evangelical leaders who have automatic affinity for rivals such as Mr. Huckabee and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. He has traveled to Israel to show his support there, met with pastors and talked openly about his own Christian faith....

"Paul might be making progress. A poll released Thursday showed him leading Hillary Rodham Clinton in a hypothetical general election matchup and outperforming many of his Republican rivals....

"'Rand Paul is uniquely positioned to win right now,' Iowa pastor Mark Doland told the Washington Times. 'If you handicap the 2012 caucuses and apply the narrative, he wins. There are multiple establishment candidates and evangelical candidates that will split that vote many ways.'

"As if to make the point about Mr. Paul’s competitiveness in Iowa, the Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday showed him performing better against Mrs. Clinton in Iowa and Colorado, both swing states, than did Mr. Huckabee, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker."

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