Iowa U.S. Senate hopefuls welcome endorsements even if value not clear

“Some endorsements have more pizzazz than other”

James Q. Lynch
Published: March 28 2014 | 3:21 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 10:17 am in

Every endorsement is a “big one” to a political candidate, but getting the backing of Citizens United Political Victory Fund is “one of those key endorsements” in the race for the Iowa Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, according to Chuck Laudner.

“Some endorsements have more pizzazz than others,” Laudner, spokesman for Sam Clovis said about the endorsement by Citizens United. The PAC is one of the most articulate voices of conservative political philosophy, he said.

It doesn’t hurt that the endorsement comes with $5,000.

Coupled with the endorsement of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, one of the leading pro-life, pro-family voices for several years, earlier in the week, Laudner said the Citizens United endorsement gives a boost to Clovis in the five-way race for the GOP nomination because it speaks to his credibility and the consistency of his message.

Endorsements, whether they include financial backing or organizational support that expands a campaign, “helps get the word out, gets your attention and affirmation of your credibility as a candidate,” Laudner said.

“Rarely does an endorsement make or break a campaign, but endorsements can say a lot about a candidate and the type of support they attract,” said Derek Flowers, spokesman for state Sen. Joni Ernst, who has won the backing of former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

On the other side of the race, presumptive Democratic nominee U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley was endorsed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which bills itself as representing the Sen. Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

Flowers thinks Ernst getting the support of both Mitt Romney, who is helping raise campaign funds, and Sarah Palin in a GOP primary in a purple state like Iowa has some significance.

It shows Ernst “is the only full spectrum conservative in this race that appeals to a broad range of the Republican Party,” he said. That could be significant if the race isn’t decided by the June 3 primary and a nominee is chosen by delegates at the state GOP convention.

Matt Whitaker will have “his share of endorsements” before primary, spokesman Jason Klindt said. However, the campaign is more than endorsements.

“At the end of the day though, this race is about the candidates,” he said. “Matt Whitaker is the most electable conservative in the field and we believe that’s what will carry the day for him.”

Some endorsements are more valuable than others, according to Scott Schaben, because “as Iowans, we ultimately make up our own minds.”

“Endorsements only matter if they can transfer into votes,” he said. “In this race in particular, the only votes that matter are those form Iowa Republicans.”

Then there’s the matter of endorsements not received, said Flowers. He noted that 2012 Iowa precinct caucus winner Rick Santorum has called Clovis “a terrific guy, a good friend … (an) A-number-one top flight kind of a guy.” But Santorum, who has made endorsements in other races, didn’t endorse him.

“That non-endorsement says something,” Flowers said. “The lack of any meaningful endorsements for Mark Jacobs also speaks volumes.”

The Jacobs campaign declined to comment on endorsements.

Flowers philosophized that “people who receive endorsements will always tout them and people who don’t receive endorsements will always say they don’t matter”

“Bottom line, I suspect most candidates would rather get endorsements than not get endorsements,” he said.

 

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