Sam Brownback Joins Presidential Race

Sam Brownback is running for president, ending any concern that the Republican field will be without a Movement Conservative.

Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, an outspoken conservative, on Saturday will become the first major Republican candidate to announce his intention to run for president in 2008. And while many in the increasingly crowded field of would-be GOP contenders are seeking ways to balance appeals to the party’s conservative voting base with outreach to a broader base of voters, the 50-year-old Brownback thus far is hardly tempering his ideological passion. “There is a real need in our country to rebuild the family and renew our culture, and there is a need for genuine conservatism and real compassion in the national discussion,” Brownback said in December when he announced the formation of his exploratory committee.

Brownback, who enters the campaign as a longshot for the Republican nomination, will make his formal candidacy announcement in the state capital of Topeka, with the speech scheduled to be broadcast nationally by C-SPAN. The Jan. 20 timing of the event is not coincidental. It is just two days before the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Advocating on behalf of Kansas’ sizable constituency of fervent social conservatives has been a trademark of Brownback’s career since his election to the House in 1994 and his victory in a Senate special election two years later.
Fighting for what he calls a “culture of life,” Brownback opposes abortion rights, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and assisted suicide. Brownback said he underwent a spiritual renewal after contracting skin cancer in 1995. A former Methodist, Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002 and attends midweek Bible readings and prayer sessions.

He’ll definitely stand out in a field of comparatively moderate candidates. I’m dubious that a relative unknown, let alone one with the baggage that comes from several years in Congress, can get the nomination. Still, he’ll make the race interesting. And, if he gains any traction, may force some of the other candidates to veer further right during the primaries.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    Wow. It’s good to see the right has it’s share of fringe loonies too. Just imagine a Brownback-Tancredo ticket. Or Brownback v. Al Sharpton in a debate. The mind reels…

  2. Debbie Watson says:

    The GOP field is wide-open and the debate over issues has begun. One of the strongest issues has been 2nd Amendment and the right to defend yourself, your family and your property. This might be why so many people are supporting Secretary of State Condi Rice since she has stated in various interviews that in the 1960’s, her father and other men from her neighborhood took up arms and protected themselves from the Night Riders. She said that she is a 2nd Amendment absolutist.
    Her strong stand on foreign policy also has a bearing on the support for her.
    The Marist poll of November 2006 asked people who they wanted to run in 2008?
    They gave Condi 42%.
    That is astounding for her to have nationwide support which makes her a player in 2008.
    From Zogby to Gallup and various other polls, the people say I LIKE CONDI for 2008.

  3. Kent G. Budge says:

    I’m curious which of these positions makes him a “fringe loony.” They’re all quite conservative, but they’re also all arguably mainstream. I’d hate to see “fringe loony” reduced to a synonym for “in disagreement with my own views.”

    And I want to know where he stands on the size and scope of federal government, entitlement reform, the war in Iraq, and a half dozen other issues where he may actually have an influence if elected.