Evangelist leader and vocal President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE supporter Franklin Graham is currently on tour in California to urge Christians to vote in the upcoming primary as part of an attempt to combat progressive policy in the state, The New York Times reported.
Graham, son of the late Billy Graham, is taking a three-bus caravan up the middle of California, which is home to some of the most contested elections this year.
He plans to hold 10 rallies to urge evangelicals to vote, the Times reported. His tour will end on June 5, the day of the primary.
“The church just has to be wakened,” he told the Times. “People say, what goes in California is the way the rest of the nation is going to go. So, if we want to see changes, it is going to have to be done here.”
Graham said that his tour is for Jesus and for supporting candidates that advance the social conservative causes — such as opposition to abortion and gay marriage — many evangelicals want.
“Progressive? That’s just another word for godless," Graham told a group of supporters, according to the Times.
He added that it was time for churches to “suck it up” and vote, according to the Times.
Graham sees an opportunity to bring out the evangelical vote in California. The nation’s largest state has more megachurches than any other state and one in five of its residents are evangelical Christians, the Times noted. But in 2016, only 13 percent of California voters were white born-again Christians, compared to 26 percent nationwide.
Graham said that “all of California is like a university town now” but noted that there are enclaves in the state that signal change could be coming.
“But you are beginning to see a groundswell of revolt out here. Orange County, San Diego County, are beginning to take on Governor Brown. It’s good for Christians to capitalize on that. So yeah, we could help turn the tide,” he told the Times, referring to counties challenging the governor's "sanctuary state" policies opposing immigration restrictions.
Most experts doubt that Republicans can win additional statewide offices in the traditionally blue state, and the GOP is vulnerable in seven districts that elected Republicans to Congress while supporting Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE.