Although more than slightly over-shadowed by Hillary Clinton’s announcement, there were developments on the Republican side of the 2008 yesterday as Kansas Senator Sam Brownback officially announced his candidacy:
Sen. Sam Brownback, the son of a rural Kansas farmer who has become a leader among religious conservatives in Congress, formally launched his 2008 bid for president at a rally in Topeka yesterday.
Brownback, 50, became one of the first Republicans to announce the formation of an exploratory committee six weeks ago, and yesterday said he had decided “to take the first steps on the yellow brick road to the White House.”
Wizard of Oz analogies aside, it is going to be an uphill battle for Brownback, who is little known outside of his home state and far behind frontrunners like McCain and Guliani when it comes to fundraising. To make? up for that, Brownback is trying to appeal to an important part of the GOP base, social conservatives:
Brownback’s supporters say the party’s better-known contenders — Arizona Sen. John McCain, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — offer weaker platforms for voters who strongly oppose abortion, same-sex marriage and stem cell research.
“There are really two primaries taking place simultaneously in the Republican party,” said Gary Bauer, the family values activist who ran for president in 2000. “One, for center-left candidates, is being fought out between Giuliani and Senator McCain. On the conservative side, nobody has captured that crown yet, but Senator Brownback will be a major competitor.”
The question is whether being tagged as the far-right candidate is really going to help him.