Rick Santorum was their "sort-of" endorsee in 2012, and look where that got him. Now Ted Cruz has the honor of being named the Religious Right's Choice bestowed upon him, but this time there's more intensity underneath the endorsement.
Religious Right leaders are intent on being the ones to pick the Republican presidential nominee this time around and they’re throwing their collective weight behind Ted Cruz.
The movement’s leaders have been seething for eight years now that they were forced to rally behind Republican presidential candidates they weren’t excited about — John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. After years of angling to prevent that from happening in 2016, “several dozen” Religious Right leaders met in secret in early December and voted to rally around Ted Cruz.
National Review’s Tim Alberta describes the event, which Cruz backers entered with the upper hand. It took five ballots for Cruz's supporters to browbeat backers of Marco Rubio into submission and give Cruz the three-quarters supermajority needed. Those who attended the meeting had vowed to either publicly support the eventual winner of the day’s balloting or to remain silent in the Republican primary. Reports Allen,The impact was felt immediately on the 2016 campaign. Three prominent participants — direct-mail pioneer and longtime activist Richard Viguerie, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, and The Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats – announced their support of Cruz within 72 hours of the meeting at the Sheraton.
I wouldn't shrug this off. I've been saying for months that Cruz is the guy who is ready to suck up the Trump supporters when (or if) Trump fades. Evangelicals are the big wild card in the deck right now, because they aren't big Trump supporters but it's questionable as to whether they'll marshall enough support to bring it home for Ted Cruz, too.
Bob Cesca thinks Cruz doesn't have a chance. I'm not ready to be that cavalier with the kind of volatility in the mix I've seen this primary season.