Republican Senate hopeful Sam Clovis has won the endorsement of prominent conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats, his campaign said Tuesday.
Vander Plaats, who previously has run for governor and now leads the influential Family Leader organization, cited Clovis’ dedication to the family.
“Sam has proven that he can go the distance not only across Iowa, but on the issues that are important in this race,” Vander Plaats said in a statement released by the Clovis campaign Tuesday. “Sam Clovis knows that the family is important to Iowa and to the future of America.”
Clovis said, “This is a truly great day.” He said that Vander Plaats’ endorsement is a signal to the grass roots that “commitment to the family is key to a winning campaign.”
Clovis, a college professor from the Sioux City area, has been traveling the state in the five-way Senate contest, and he often has won praise in debates. But, according to opinion polls, he still trails state Sen. Joni Ernst and retired energy executive Mark Jacobs.
The Vander Plaats endorsement not only will help Clovis with some Christian conservatives, but it also could have an impact if the nomination fight goes to a convention.
To win the nomination outright, a candidate needs 35 percent of the vote in the June 3 primary. If that doesn’t happen, the decision would be made by a convention, where activists who often are more conservative than the voting public as a whole would make the decision.
Also in the race are former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker and Scott Schaben, a sales professional.