By Justin Sink
Newt Gingrich rolled out a pair of high-profile endorsements Tuesday, hoping to regain momentum in Iowa as recent polls have shown the one-time front-runner slipping back into the middle of the Republican pack.
Don Wildmon, the founder and chairman emeritus of the American Family Association, announced his support for Gingrich on Tuesday. His organization, which promotes conservative Christian values and has a nationwide radio network of more than 180 stations, represents an ideal constuency, who has struggled to convince conservative voters to overlook a past that includes multiple divorces and admitted marital infidelity.
"Newt Gingrich recognizes the threat to our country posed by judges and lawyers imposing values upon the country inconsistent with our religious heritage, and has proposed constitutional steps to bring the courts back in balance under the Constitution,” Wildmon said in a statement.
Wildmon will campaign with Gingrich in Iowa in the coming weeks.
“Don Wildmon has been one of the most important leaders in the country in the battle to uphold our founding principles. I am humbled and honored to have his endorsement,” said Gingrich.
Gingrich is hoping that Wildmon's endorsement will help his efforts with the influential Iowa-based Christian group the Family Leader, which is set to announce its endorsement Tuesday. Group leader Bob Vander Plaats has signaled his support for Gingrich, but rank-and-file members have expressed concerns over Gingrich's personal life, throwing the group's endorsement into question.
Gingrich also earned the endorsement of Iowa Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen, an important ally considering Gingrich's relatively weak organization in the state. Gingrich has struggled to build a ground operation after early campaign chaos led to a departure of key staff and mounting debt.
“We need a president who is ready to lead and, more importantly, ready to release the energy of the American people and American spirit,” Paulsen said in a statement.
Paulsen joins Iowa House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer and Speaker Pro Tempore Jeff Kaufmann in providing Gingrich top allies in the state House as he looks to regain momentum.
This article was corrected at 3:10 p.m. to clarify that Widmon, but not the American Family Association itself, offered endorsement of Gingrich.