The Iowa Caucuses are a great equalizer when it comes to political influence. In gubernatorial and congressional campaigns, big money donors enjoy an enormous amount sway, but in Iowa’s presidential caucuses, money isn’t necessarily king – one’s sphere of influence is. This reality is what makes a few Iowa pastors sought after endorsements.
If you don’t know who he is, you might not notice the tall and slender Des Moines pastor who is on every presidential candidate’s most wanted list when it comes to endorsements. Pastor Terry Amann isn’t known for making provocative statements or seeking the limelight, but he is a respected member of the faith community in central Iowa and has a track record of helping political candidates he personally supports.
Steve Scheffler, Iowa’s Republican National Committeeman, described Amann as being “humble, fair minded, and having a servant’s heart.” Scheffler also added, “there is no hidden agenda” with Amann. In terms of his political activity, Scheffler praised him for studying the issues as much as he studies each of the candidates.
Bob Vander Plaats of The FAMiLY Leader described Amann as “authentic, passionate, and humble.” Vander Plaats also praised Amann for his, “bridled and focused strength.”
Back in January Amann told the Washington Post that he wasn’t ready to endorse a candidate despite being an early supporter of Mike Huckabee in 2008 and a late supporter of Rick Santorum in 2012. “I’m vetting every candidate,” Amann told the Washington Post after Congressman Steve King’s Iowa Freedom Summit back in late January. “This time, I’m going to start with a clean slate.”
In early May, Amann attended Huckabee’s Iowa campaign kickoff event at Living History Farms. He chatted with TheIowaRepublican.com after the event, and despite his history with Huckabee, he made it abundantly clear that he was going to do his due diligence before signing on with a candidate.
Four months later, Pastor Amann has made his decision. On Monday night, he told TheIowaRepublican.com that he was ready to back Governor Mike Huckabee.
“As we enter the 2016 Presidential race, it is clear that we have several excellent candidates, and they have come to us at a very critical juncture in our Nation’s history,” Amann said in a statement to TheIowaRepublican.com.
“Today, we are more than just a Nation adrift and off course, but we find that the very soul of America is under extreme duress. In order to set the ship back on course, we need someone who is more than a just political thinker, and who has only man-made political solutions. We need someone who genuinely fears God and loves people. I believe that person in this presidential race is Governor Mike Huckabee.”
“He [Huckabee] understands that behind the myriad of social and political challenges which are set before us, there are real people – people with hopes and dreams for a better life,” Amann added.
“I know Governor Mike Huckabee to be a humble person who leans upon God, seeks counsel, acts decisively, and sees what American can be and should be – leading in the 21st Century. Therefore, Governor Huckabee has my prayers and full support.”
Amann’s endorsement comes of the heels of the Huckabee campaign announcing that they already have over 70 county chairs in place across the state. Huckabee has devoted a lot of time and effort into rebuilding his Iowa grassroots organization. While other candidates seem to drop in for quick visits, Huckabee has systematically campaigned in every corner of the state. It’s not glitzy and doesn’t generate a lot of national headlines, but it’s the type of work that is required if you want to win the Iowa caucuses.
Getting the nod again from someone like Pastor Amann is significant for a candidate like Huckabee. In his successful 2008 caucus campaign, Huckabee didn’t have the type of competition he has today for the evangelical vote. While his main competitor for that voting bloc is Texas Senator Ted Cruz, candidates like Senator Rick Santorum and Governor Bobby Jindal are also out there competing for support.
Getting a respected leader like Pastor Amann to sign on early should be a boost for the Huckabee campaign.
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