Ted Cruz has just scored what has undoubtedly been the most coveted and sought after endorsement of the 2016 GOP presidential cycle, that of Bob Vander Plaats, leader of political activist organization, The Family Leader.
Vander Plaats has become known as the chief kingmaker in Iowa. In 2008 he endorsed Mike Huckabee, who after receiving Vander Plaats’ endorsement surged to win the Iowa caucus by the largest margin anyone ever had. Vander Plaats also endorsed Rick Santorum just prior to the Iowa caucus in the 2012 race. After receiving Vander Plaats’ endorsement, Santorum, who had run a shoestring campaign and been polling around 3% for the duration of the race came out of nowhere to win the caucus and went on to win 10 other states making him the last candidate standing against the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney. And in 2010 Vander Plaats successfully led the campaign against the retention of three members of the Iowa Supreme Court who had voted to overturn Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act in Varnum v. Brien. Vander Plaats is said to also wield considerable influence nationally among evangelical conservative leaders.
Vander Plaats told the Des Moines Register that, “At the end of the day, we truly believe that Ted Cruz is the most consistent and principled conservative who has the ability to not only win Iowa but I believe to win the (Republican) nomination”
Since 2010 Vander Plaats has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Family Leader, a group that includes Marriage Matters, the Iowa Family Policy Center, as well as a political action committee.
Iowa is said to have three kingmakers in conservative politics, Bob Vander Plaats, Congressman Steve King, and Conservative columnist Steve Deace. Cruz had already secured the endorsements of both King and Deace, so with the addition of Vander Plaats Cruz has scored a perfect trifecta of support from the Iowa kingmakers. It’s notable that no presidential candidate has ever held the endorsement of any two of the three, much less all three. And as with Vander Plaats, King and Deace’s endorsements come along with their formidable networks of caucus activists which should effectively shut out any other candidate from having a realistic chance of winning the Iowa caucus. So the Iowa race has now for all purposes become a race for 2nd place among the remaining candidates.
The Vander Plaats endorsement comes on the heels of a great week of news for Cruz as has recently surged to take a 5 point lead (24 – 19) over Donald Trump in the latest Iowa poll, as well as surging to second place in three of the last four the latest national polls, and surging to 2nd place in the latest South Carolina, and North Carolina polls. Cruz also yesterday secured the endorsements of Conservative icon and movement pioneer Richard Vigurie, and the National Organization for Marriage.
By Javan Browder, Managing Editor – Conservative Fifty Dot Com