Steve King WILL endorse before the caucusesInteresting, eh? Just for context, Rep. Steve King and Sen. Chuck Grassley are the two most influential Republicans in the state of Iowa. King is absolutely untouchable in his ultra-conservative district and so he won't be jeopardizing his re-election campaign next year.
Romney just finished up a visit at a restaurant in Early, Iowa, which is in Sac County, the home of Rep. Steve King.
King's son and campaign manager, Jeff, is here for the visit, keeping an eye things for the congressman.
Jeff King tells me that his dad will endorse before the caucuses, but hasn't made up his mind about who to get behind.
Steve King is a vocal anti-immigration advocate and has developed a close relationship with Tom Tancredo because of their shared views on the topic.
Some Iowans thought this friendship could preclude King from getting behind one of the top-tier candidates, but that''s not the case according to his son.
Jeff King wouldn't say who his dad favors, but did concede that he the congressman had concerns about the Arkansan's immigration views.
It made me think of a previous post I wrote over a year ago after attending the Iowa Christian Alliance's Banquet in Clive, IA. Here's the relevant excerpt:
King then took the stage (he and Schlafly were the only speakers to get a standing ovation before and after their addresses). King always gives a dynamic speech and he did not fail to impress. He said that the several hundred people in the room will be the ones choosing our next President . . . that the influence of the politically active Christian coservatives in that room would weigh heavily in who will be the 2008 GOP nominee and future President. King then said that we should take the opportunity to get to know each of the candidates personally and to find out where they really stand on issues important to conservatives , especially the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) and in being tough on immigration.I'm cautiously optimistic based on this statement of those last two key issues King mentioned. Huck is for the MPA but, as Politico reports, King ain't too keen on Huck's immigration past (and probably sees right through the sham of his "deathbed conversion" with his new immigration plan). Fred's pretty solid on immigration, but doesn't support the MPA. Romney's solid on both of those key issues to King (at least that's how it stood over a year ago).
King's district is where Romney faces the toughest challenge from Huckabee (Western Iowa is a huge base for Evangelical conservatives.) King's endorsement could be big news and I'm cautiously optimistic that if he does indeed endorse, that it would be for Mitt.
P.S. King is a funny guy. He delivered this great line at the Iowa GOP convention in Aug 2006 (I was there and it's where I first met Romney in person):
Steve King got a huge response when he was introduced. Can you say red meat?Is that funny or what?
Great King quote #45,367: "There are probably not 72 virgins in the hell Al-Zarqawi is in. If there are, they probably all look like Helen Thomas."