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Kansas Republican Brownback Declares Run For US Presidency January 20, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP)–Conservative Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas declared Saturday that he’s running for the Republican nomination for president.

“My family and I are taking the first steps on the yellow brick road to the White House,” Brownback told supporters in Topeka.

The two-term senator said he will fight to renew America’s cultural values and pledged to focus on rebuilding families.

Brownback laced his speech with the themes that have made him the leader of the Republican conservative wing and a spokesman in Congress for conservative Christians.

“Search the record of history. To walk away from the Almighty is to embrace decline for a nation. To embrace Him leads to renewal, for individuals and for nations,” Brownback said.

A foe of abortion, he planned to return to Washington to participate in an anti-abortion rally Monday marking the 34th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Brownback also opposes embryonic stem-cell research and gay marriage.

Brownback also pledged never to sign a tax increase if elected, and proposed scrapping the current income tax.

Brownback, however, opposes President George W. Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq, saying, “Iraq requires a political rather than a military solution.” Brownback also favors an eventual path to citizenship for some of the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants.

In his announcement, Brownback said the country needs to support the traditional definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman. He said most Americans “feel deeply in their hearts” for “a culture of life.” He called for judges “who want to be judges, not legislators.”

Brownback faces a crowded field of potential Republican candidates, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani – all with the fundraising skills and experienced campaign staff for the long haul.

Brownback, 50, offers himself as a “full-scale Ronald Reagan conservative.”

“McCain, I think, would be considered by most the front-runner,” Brownback acknowledged in a recent interview. “Where I stand on the issues much more reflects the majority of the Republican Party voters.”

Brownback’s causes have included reserving a “family hour” on television, an amendment to the Constitution banning same-sex marriage and legislation to prohibit human cloning and embryonic stem-cell research.

Brownback’s announcement came hours after Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York entered her party’s 2008 race.

While conservatives have a major say in picking the Republican nominee, electability also is a factor. Republican pollster Ed Goeas said that while some conservatives have concerns about McCain, they also want a candidate who can beat the Democrat they dislike most.

“All you have to say to conservatives is, ‘Hillary Clinton,’ and all of a sudden the headache disappears very quickly,” Goeas said.

Brownback was elected to the House in 1994, part of the Republican revolution that gave the party control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years.

Two years later, Brownback was elected to the Senate, winning the seat Bob Dole vacated to run for the presidency. Brownback, who promised to serve no more than two full terms, has said he will not seek re-election in 2010.

Republican pollster Whit Ayres said Brownback faces two major challenges in his bid.

“The first is raising the money necessary to be competitive,” Ayres said. “The second is how to expand his base of support beyond the social conservative wing of the party.”


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