Bob Vander Plaats, a prominent evangelical leader in Iowa, has officially endorsed DeSantis.

Bob Vander Plaats, a prominent evangelical leader in Iowa, has officially endorsed DeSantis.

Bob Vander Plaats, an influential evangelical leader

On Tuesday, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, received an endorsement from Iowa, increasing his chances of winning the first state in the presidential primary race.

evangelical Christian voters

Iowa residents who have remained loyal to Trump since 2016.

On Tuesday night, Vander Plaats declared his support for DeSantis on Fox News, stating that it was up to DeSantis to maintain his endorsement. This came after DeSantis had made multiple efforts to gain Vander Plaats’ support, including visiting his organization’s office and attending church together.

Last weekend, there was a Thanksgiving roundtable held in Des Moines.

The endorsement from Vander Plaats is independent of his organization, which has not previously endorsed a candidate before the Iowa caucus. Additionally, the nonprofit branch of the organization is prohibited from showing support for a specific candidate.

Vander Plaats has supported the past three eventual victors of the Iowa GOP caucus: Senator Ted Cruz from Texas in 2016, former Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania in 2012, and former Governor Mike Huckabee from Arkansas in 2008. Vander Plaats also campaigned for Iowa governor in 2010 before becoming a part of The FAMiLY Leader.

None of the candidates supported by Vander Plaats in Iowa were able to secure the nomination. When asked about this on Fox, Vander Plaats suggested that Iowa should be given more consideration by the country.

Iowa is the epicenter. If you overthrow the previous leader here, I believe we will present America with a decision between President Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis. If President Trump triumphs in Iowa, it will be very difficult to argue that you can defeat him and he will become your ultimate nominee,” he stated.

Vander Plaats and Trump have been in conflict.
The person he has referred to as “the greatest danger.”

Republicans may struggle to regain control of the White House. On Tuesday, he suggested that the evangelical community may have mixed opinions on Trump due to fatigue from ongoing legal issues and frequent criticisms of his past actions.

He has been critical of Trump calling Florida’s six-week abortion ban “a terrible thing.” Reynolds, who has also endorsed DeSantis, signed a similar ban that is stalled in the courts. 

Vander Plaats emphasized the importance of valuing human life without compromise. He stated that it should not be subject to public opinion or used as a political tactic, and that laws like the heartbeat bill should not be deemed too severe for states like Iowa or Florida. This statement was made during a gala event hosted by Pulse Live Advocates, the oldest anti-abortion organization in Iowa.

A memo from Trump’s pollsters in November stated that an endorsement from Vander Plaats for DeSantis would not greatly affect the Presidential election.

Trump referenced a Reuters article from August that revealed DeSantis and his associated groups paid $95,000 to the Family Leader Foundation, the charitable branch of Vander Plaats’ organization, in order to advertise in a booklet distributed at the event. Trump accused DeSantis of attempting to purchase Vander Plaats’ endorsement.

Anticipating the anticipated endorsement of Vander Plaats, the Trump campaign released a statement acknowledging the support of Iowa faith leaders and once again insinuated that Vander Plaats’ endorsement was motivated by the $95,000 payment.

During his interview on Fox on Tuesday, Vander Plaats defended his actions by stating that they were transparent and that all campaigns had the opportunity to pay for inclusion in the program booklet.

According to a report by CBS News, DeSantis informed his fundraisers and donors on Monday that he anticipated receiving Vander Plaats’ endorsement within a week of their Thanksgiving roundtable. However, DeSantis’ campaign denied that he made such statements and Vander Plaats stated that he had not yet made a final decision.

During his campaign stop in New Hampshire on Tuesday, DeSantis hinted at receiving an endorsement from Vander Plaats, stating that they have a positive rapport and expressing optimism about gaining his support.

“If you saw that family leader forum, clearly, his folks there gravitated to me. I don’t think there’s any question about that,” DeSantis said. “To have the governor, then to have Bob and his network — that’s going to be a pretty powerful machine.”

According to David Kochel, a well-established strategist for the Iowa GOP, Vander Plaats’ endorsement may not directly result in a significant number of votes, but it does play a significant role in achieving success in Iowa.

According to him, DeSantis is seeking out any positive developments he can find following a difficult summer. He sees it as a sign of progress and potential momentum.