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Brownback to withdraw from GOP race

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071018/ap_on_el_pr/brownback;_ylt=Au2PosLNwvz1dSu8NUCgO_.s0NUE Brownback to withdraw from GOP race By LIBBY QUAID 45 minutes ago
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 18, 2007

      Brownback to withdraw from GOP race By LIBBY QUAID
      45 minutes ago

      WASHINGTON - Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, the Kansas
      conservative who struggled to raise money and gain
      recognition in the 2008 presidential campaign, will
      drop out on Friday, people close to him said Thursday.

      Money was a main reason for his decision, said one
      person close to Brownback who requested anonymity
      because the candidate had not yet announced his plans.
      Brownback is expected announce his withdrawal in
      Topeka, Kan.

      It's widely anticipated Brownback will run for Kansas
      governor in 2010, when his term — his second —
      expires. He had promised in his first Senate campaign
      to serve no more than two terms.

      "He also mentioned he is really looking forward to
      spending more time in Kansas," the person said.

      As recently as last week, Brownback indicated he would
      keep campaigning through Iowa's first-in-the-nation
      presidential caucuses in January, saying he would exit
      the race if he finished worse than fourth there.

      But his fundraising has sagged. Reports released
      Monday showed that of the eight Republican candidates,
      Brownback was seventh in fundraising from July through
      September and had a mere $94,000 cash on hand, less
      than any of his rivals. Brownback raised nearly $4
      million overall and was eligible for $2 million in
      federal matching funds.

      He spent a good chunk of his money on the Iowa straw
      poll, an early test of strength whose significance
      diminished after Arizona Sen. John McCain and former
      New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani decided not to compete.
      He finished third in the August contest behind former
      Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas
      Gov. Mike Huckabee.

      The straw poll gave a boost to Huckabee, said Chuck
      Hurley, an influential Iowa conservative who is friend
      and adviser to Brownback.

      "Brownback's campaign didn't catch fire," Hurley said.
      "It's just the field is still so full, and the pool of
      voters he was most fishing from was almost perfectly
      split between him and Mike Huckabee."

      Hurley said Brownback called him Thursday morning to
      say he was dropping out.

      Besides money, Brownback was hurt because he supports
      a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, an issue
      that angers conservatives who influence voting in Iowa
      and other states that are struggling to provide
      education, medical care and other services to an
      influx of immigrants in recent years.

      People close to Brownback said it was unlikely he
      would endorse another candidate on Friday.

      It's uncertain how much weight a Brownback endorsement
      would carry. While the anti-abortion senator is a
      favorite of religious conservatives, he failed to
      become their consensus candidate and ranks low in
      national polls and state surveys.

      Still, a nod from Brownback could bolster the
      conservative credentials of a candidate such as McCain
      or Huckabee, the rivals who appear most likely to
      receive his support.

      Brownback and McCain are close Senate comrades and
      have refrained from criticizing one another, instead
      assailing Romney.

      While McCain has a voting record similar to
      Brownback's on cultural issues, McCain prompts
      skepticism on the right flank of the party because he
      isn't a high-profile crusader against abortion rights
      and gay marriage. Brownback's backing could signal to
      Christian conservatives that they can trust McCain.

      Campaigning in Spartanburg, S.C., on Thursday, McCain
      said of Brownback, "I'll miss him in this debate. He's
      a voice for family. He's a voice for the pro-life
      movement and community in America."

      Huckabee, a Southern Baptist preacher, is another
      favorite of religious conservatives. But like
      Brownback, he has struggled to rally that voting bloc
      around his candidacy. He, too, could benefit from
      Brownback's backing.

      Huckabee, campaigning in Rindge, N.H., declined to
      comment on Brownback's withdrawal because he hadn't
      heard it officially.

      It's harder to imagine any other Republican in the
      field getting a Brownback nod, although former
      Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson is a possibility. The
      Kansas senator has bitterly criticized Romney, and
      Giuliani is disliked by many religious conservatives
      because of his abortion rights and gay rights


      Associated Press Writers Liz Sidoti, Jim Kuhnhenn and
      Sam Hananel in Washington, Seanna Adcox in South
      Carolina and Holly Ramer in New Hampshire contributed
      to this report.
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