James Dobson of Focus on the Family and arguably the most influential evangelical leader in the United States joined twenty-three other prominent conservative leaders today in endorsing Ken Blackwell for RNC Chairman. The list reads like a who’s who of social conservative leaders including Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum, and Tim LaHaye of Tim LaHaye Ministries. The list also includes some fiscal conservative leaders such as Pat Toomey of the Club for Growth (or as Gov. Huckabee calls it, the Club for Greed.)
Ken Blackwell is the former secretary of state for Ohio and mayor of Cincinnati. In 2004, he was the driving force behind the passage of an Ohio Constitutional Amendment banning state recognition of same sex marriage. He also has a strong pro-life record with endorsement for various pro-life groups in previously election. These solid social conservative creditals no doubt played a part in today's endorsments.
To me, the most surprising endorsement on the list is Dobson, not because of whom he is endorsing but because he is making an endorsement at all. If you will recall, Dobson was very reluctant to make an endorsement in the Republican Presidential Primary before he finally endorsed Gov. Huckabee on February 8. So it surprises me that he would weigh in on an internal party race among several worthy candidates. Nevertheless, I predict this endorsement will pay large dividends among the 168 RNC members who will vote for their next chairman. If Blackwell can capitalize on this going into the upcoming events on January 5 through 7, he should vault toward the front of the pack. It certainly has me taking a second look.