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.