by Steven Ertelt
June 14, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Potential Republican candidates for the presidency in 2008 are stepping up their efforts to position themselves as the leading prospect to replace President Bush. New York Gov. George Pataki, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have all been working to set up operations in Iowa, the nation’s first caucus state.
Pataki, who backs abortion, has assembled a team of Iowa political activists to help him appear more conservative to voters there, who may otherwise consider him an East Coast liberal.
The team, which includes former Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson and Ed Failor Jr., a leader of Iowans for Tax Relief, will help him assist candidates in the 2006 elections. That election help normally builds a collection of political IOUs that candidates can cash in later.
Failor’s help is particularly critical because he is on the board of directors of Iowa Right to Life and headed field operations in Iowa for President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, according to an AP report.
Pataki, who is not seeking re-election as governor, has been to Iowa four times and has another trip scheduled for Friday.
Meanwhile, pro-life Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has hired a man who was the press coordinator for President Bush’s 2000 campaign to coordinate legislative and grassroots efforts in Iowa. Eric Woolson was a political reporter before he started working with former Gov. Terry Branstad has his lead spokesman.
Huckabee has been to Iowa seven times, most recently to speak at the state’s Christian Coalition meeting.
Romney, who has recently declared himself pro-life and opposes embryonic stem cell research, is also making waves.
He raised funds for his political action committee in Utah on Monday and also recently visited Michigan and California to raise money as well.
Huckabee and Pataki have hired people for their federal political actions committees, which allows them to splash around without jumping into the presidential race formally. Romney is doing something novel with regard to PACs as he’s established state level organizations in several leading primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
That allows him to accept donations from the same people to both his federal PAC as well as the state-level political action groups.
Federal officeholders and potential presidential candidates like Sen. Bill Frist, Sen. John McCain, and Sen. George Allen, are prohibited from doing that.
The Iowa state Republican Party will hold its annual convention this weekend and many of the possible candidates plan to attend.