Another Romney Victory, Huge Hit to Huckabee
In the world of conservative politics the close bond amongst Evangelical Christians has been extremely powerful, and for the most part, has been effective in sticking their forces behind one candidate.
That has been the case up until just recently.
With Mike Huckabee banking on the fact that he will get the Evangelical vote, he must be suffering from a severe case of heartburn after finding out that Morton Blackwell, President of the Leadership Institute threw his support behind Mitt Romney.
“The only way conservatives are going to beat the Democrats this year is if we unite the major elements of our coalition. Governor Romney is the only candidate who can bring conservative change to Washington now and maintain the conservative coalition so many of us helped Ronald Reagan build. I am proud to support Governor Romney”
I don’t know if the Romney campaign realizes how huge of an endorsement this is, not only due to Blackwell’s status within the conservative movement, but also simply due to the fact that he is one of the most revered, and well known conservative organizers amongst college students.
While the Leadership Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization that does not support or oppose candidates seeking political office, those people who are trained by the Leadership Institute are those who would be classified as the “wonks” and are well aware of Blackwell’s endorsement.
The one thing that many people don’t realize about Morton Blackwell is that while he is a very quiet, soft spoken man who usually is behind the scenes, he has his hands in just about every major conservative organization in the United States.
Just off the top of my head, I know that Blackwell is a member of the American Conservative Union Board of Directors, a member of the Mont Pelerin Society (even though he isn’t an economist), a board member of the Free Congress Foundation, a board member of the National Right to Work Foundation as well as a board member of the Philadelphia Society.
Just research any of those organizations mentioned and you’ll see how many key conservative leaders Blackwell has ties with.
Aside from being a “power player” in the conservative movement, Blackwell has also been a prominent leader within the Souther Baptist Convention, an affiliation that would almost seem to naturally go towards Huckabee.
So far, Huckabee has been under scrutiny from some of the top conservative economic organizations, hasn’t received the support of the country’s top Evangelical leaders, and finally hasn’t been able to raise any money.
I think that Blackwell’s endorsement, while being something that has gone under the radar in terms of attention, will truly be something of importance to the Huckabee campaign.
In terms of having the conservative movements support, Mitt Romney clearly has the advantage, especially with Fred Thompson leaving the race. If McCain keeps getting endorsements from people like Charlie Crist, who is my opinion an inconsistent moderate, and Huckabee continues to lose his base of Evangelicals that he is banking on, Romney could be the GOP candidate by the conclusion of Super Tuesday.
I expect there to be some other big-name conservative leaders who will throw their support behind Mitt Romney in the coming days before February 5th. Of course, I welcome any suggestions.