With a low voter turnout expected in the US mid-term elections and races across the country coming down to the wire, the votes of conservative Christians will be vital in helping Republicans hold on to power. Support from the so-called “evangelicals” was key to President Bush’s last two election wins.
Republican Senator George Allen pressed the flesh in southwest Virginia, an area crucial to his fight to hold on to his seat.
Allen has campaigned in the largely Christian area on core values.
“I think the people of Virginia do care about values a great deal,” Allen said.
“They recognize the importance of the family and on the ballot in addition to me is the Virginia Marriage Protection Amendment and they are going to see who shares their values.”
Posters supporting Allen stand alongside signs saying “Vote Yes for Marriage”. Virginians will also be asked to vote on a constitutional amendment in favour of heterosexual marriage. The Republicans hope this will prompt conservative Christians to turn out to polling stations. But they fear recent Congressional scandals will make them stay at home.
Polls show the affair of Republican representative Mark Foley shook the party. Foley was forced to resign, after sending lurid emails to minors. But Jerry Falwell, of political action committee “Moral Majority”, says conservatives will still vote.
“I see the alarm in the hearts of pastors and evangelical people nationwide at the way the courts are going, at the way Congress itself is going but that does not translate into apathy,” Falwell said.
“I really believe the pollsters are wrong this time around. I do believe the President will keep both houses.”
Reverend Ted Haggard has also disappointed values voters.He resigned as President of the National Association of Evangelicals, after claims he had taken part in drug-fuelled homosexual trysts.
Pastor Larry Stockstill read Haggard’s confession. “I am a deceiver and a liar,” Haggard’s statement read. “There is part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it all of my adult life.”
Some 57 percent of evangelical voters polled recently said they would vote Republican. But whether they will turn out to the polling stations, after seeing their values battered, remains to be seen.