Top Iowa social conservative won't endorse for president

Steve Scheffler, the head of the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition and a prominent social conservative in the Hawkeye State, won't endorse anyone for president.

"We're not going to endorse a candidate," he told The Hill Tuesday afternoon.


The move is a missed opportunity for the GOP presidential candidates who are trying to unite social conservatives in the state against Romney. Scheffler said that Romney was definitely not his "first choice" but that picking one of the handful of candidates vying for the social conservative mantle would do more harm than good for the state GOP.

"Most of these candidates are very similar on issues," he said. "To endorse one candidate over another causes some bruised feelings and it's not worth the divisions. People in this state don't like being told what to do."

Scheffler did not endorse in 2008 either. That year, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee united Evangelicals and other social conservatives for a come-from-behind victory in the Iowa caucuses.

With Scheffler's group out of the picture, all eyes turn to Bob Vander Plaats, Iowa's other top social conservative kingmaker, to signal who he thinks the pastors should get behind. The former gubernatorial candidate's group, The Family Leader, has narrowed its choices to four candidates: Newt Gingrich, Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannBoehner says he voted for Trump, didn't push back on election claims because he's retired Boehner: Trump 'stepped all over their loyalty' by lying to followers Boehner finally calls it as he sees it MORE, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.