Perry Drops Out of GOP Race, Backs GingrichJanuary 20, 2012
Ethics Daily ran my latest article today, which is entitled "Perry Drops Out of GOP Race, Backs Gingrich." The piece notes Perry's decision to suspend his campaign (see post here on why he called it "suspending") and how Perry's departure from the presidential race represents a dramatic fall from political grace. While Perry started as the favorite candidate of many conservative evangelical leaders, they had since abandoned him. Even this week before dropping out Perry was still trying to run on prayer. He spoke at a South Carolina prayer rally modeled after his one in Texas last August.
As Perry exited the race, he endorsed former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who also has been using confessional politics. Last weekend, he went to a South Carolina church to talk about his "baggage" and "faith in God." His level of "baggage" increased when his second ex-wife gave an interview with ABC News yesterday, claiming Gingrich wanted an "open marriage." Amazingly, some conservative evangelicals like Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network do not think the allegations will hurt Gingrich since conservatives do not trust the media. I wonder when the apologies to Bill Clinton will begin! Santorum also has been speaking at prayer breakfasts and in church services--as he did in Iowa (see post here)--and all the candidates spoke at a religious-political rally hosted by Ralph Reed's Faith & Freedom Coalition. Santorum is also touting the endorsement of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, who has been a key confessional politics figure. Not to be outdone, conservative evangelical supporters of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (yes, they exist!) penned a book justifying their support of him. However, Romney is unlikely to gain many votes from Perry's departure and is hurt by the fact that the anti-Romney vote will not be split up as much.