Amid rising momentum in favor of legalizing gay marriage, Bob Vander Plaats, the Iowa conservative activist who helped both Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum win the last two Republican caucuses in his state, said he would strongly oppose any Republican presidential candidate who backed same-sex unions and predicted such a person would not be able to win in Iowa or capture the GOP nomination overall.
“I don’t think they would get a foothold anywhere and they would definitely get beat in Iowa,” Vander Plaats said of any Republican who supported gay marriage. And Vander Plaats said he and other social conservatives there would “do their due diligence” in pressing any Republican who comes to Iowa to pledge both now and in the future that they will support marriage only between a man and a woman.
The comments, in an interview with me, were a bit of a warning shot to potential Republican 2016 candidates. Vander Plaats, runs a social conservative group called The Family Leader in Iowa, and is an influential enough figure that six of the Republican 2012 candidates attended a forum on faith and politics his group sponsored during the campaign.