DeSantis gets endorsements from dozens of Iowa faith leaders

DES MOINES — Dozens of Iowa pastors and worship leaders are endorsing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president today, a few hours before DeSantis will appear alongside Republican rivals Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy at a forum hosted by The Family Leader, a conservative Christian organization.

Darran Whiting, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids, has signed onto the DeSantis campaign’s Faith and Freedom Coalition and he will be in the crowd at this afternoon’s event. Whiting said it’s time to make his choice public.

“I appreciate the stand that Governor DeSantis has taken, especially on life,” Whiting said. “Not that there aren’t other good candidates, but at this point I think Governor DeSantis is the right man at the right time.”

Former President Donald Trump’s criticism of DeSantis for signing a Florida law to ban most abortions after the sixth week of a pregnancy was a defining moment for Whiting.

“I am pro-life. I don’t think it’s a terrible mistake to protect life at six weeks,” Whiting told Radio Iowa, “and I think it’s a terrible mistake for former President Trump to say that.”

And, if Trump winds up being the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nominee, he will not get Whiting’s vote.

“I cannot vote for somebody who tried to overthrow the government,” Whiting said during an interview. “I appreciate the Supreme Court justices that he put into place. I appreciate some of his policies, but I absolutely, positively cannot endorse his rhetoric, his divisiveness, his lack of constitutional knowledge…We can’t afford at this point having a president who could be a felon running this country.”

Whiting said he “thought and prayed” about this decision and “will be proud” to Caucus for DeSantis in January. “Just his unwavering stance on life and social issues and his ability to articulate that position is essentially what led me to him,” Whiting said.

Nearly 80% of likely Iowa Caucus-goers who responded to the recent Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom “Iowa Poll” said a candidate’s stand on abortion restrictions is either “important” or “extremely important” as they consider who to support in the Caucuses.

The full list of Iowa DeSantis’ Faith and Freedom Coalition leaders is below (one asterisk notes endorsement previously announced in September; two asterisks notes endorser is among state legislators who endorsed DeSantis in May: and those listed as leaders in Pulse Life Advocates are endorsing as individuals and not on behalf of the organization):

Pastor Kendall Adams, Burlington Baptist Church (Des Moines)
Pam Adams, Burlington Baptist Church (Des Moines)
Dale Akkerman, Development Director at Timothy Christian School (Grundy)Pastor Bryan Anderson, Tabernacle Baptist Church (Lyon)
Rachel Anderson, Tabernacle Baptist Church (Lyon)
Jeff Arrandale, Christian Singer/Songwriter and Worship Leader (Warren)
Pastor Mike Augsburger, Soteria Church (Polk)
Pastor Gary Axtell, Grace Baptist Church (Madison)
Kathleen Banowetz, Head of Prayer Team (Linn)
Pastor Earl Beal, Joy Baptist Church (Lee)
Kathy Beal, Joy Baptist Church (Lee)
*Zia Bingaman, First Church of the Open Bible Des Moines (Polk)
Pastor Dan Bittinger, CrossPointe Church (Woodbury)
*Marlin Bontrager, Bontrager Family Singers (Washington)
*Becky Bontrager, Bontrager Family Singers (Washington)
Pastor Joseph Brown, Marion Avenue Baptist Church (Washington)
*Charity Brown, Marion Avenue Baptist Church (Washington)
Pastor David Bush, Fit For The King Ministry (Polk)
Pastor Mark Cannon, Hope Baptist Church (Scott)
*Martin A. Cannon, National Pro-Life Trial Lawyer (Pottawattamie)
Deacon Doug Chervek, Adelphi Calvary Baptist Church (Polk)
Tricia Chervek, Adelphi Calvary Baptist Church (Polk)
Pastor Dave Childers (Polk)
Pastor Simeon Counterman, Calvary Baptist Church (Des Moines)
Bonnie Counterman, Calvary Baptist Church (Des Moines)
*Robert Cramer, Former Chair of The FAMiLY LEADER (Dallas)
Pastor Brad Cranston, Iowa Baptists for Biblical Values (Des Moines)
*Heidi Cranston, Iowa Baptists for Biblical Values (Des Moines)
Pastor Sean Cully (Dallas)
Pastor Rick David (Linn)
Sherry David, Ministry Leader (Linn)
Pastor Rex Deckard, Calvary Des Moines (Polk)
Pastor Bob Deever, Former Pastor of Grace West Church (Polk)
*Shannon Demastus, Fort Des Moines Church of Christ (Polk)
Pastor Brett Denham, Monticello Baptist Church (Jones)
*Maggie DeWitte, executive director Pulse Life Advocates
Gwendy Doland, Youth and Womens Small Group Leader at New Hope Christian Church (Tama)
*Pastor Mark Doland, Church of Christ (Tama)
**Pastor & Rep. Jon Dunwell
Pastor Kirk Evans, Indianola Church of Christ (Warren)
Andy Folkmann, Calvary Community Church (Linn)
Janice Fricke, Triumphant Church (Buchanan)
Pastor Lance Fricke, Triumphant Church (Buchanan)
Evangelist Caleb Garraway, Remnant Ministries (Washington)
Pastor Ed Grant, Senior Pastor of Thrive Church (Warren)
**Senator Jesse Green, Bible Class Teacher at Trinity Lutheran (Boone)
Pastor Michael Griswold, Marion Avenue Baptist Church (Washington)
*John Grzywacz, Volunteer for Pulse Life Advocates* (Story)
*Kim Grzywacz, Treasurer of the Board for Pulse Life Advocates* (Story)
Bob Hager, Former Director of Living Stone (Allamakee)
Pastor Doug Harris, Pella Open Bible Church (Marion)
*Mary Jo Harty, Board Member of Pulse Life Advocates* (Polk)
Minister Matthew Haynie, Ogden Church of Christ (Boone)
Pastor Jessten Heimer, Trinity Lutheran Church and School (Boone)
Brooke Higgins, Women’s Ministry Teacher at Calvary Community Church (Linn)
Pastor Jeremy Higgins, Calvary Community Church (Linn)
Pastor Kerry Jech, New Hope Christian Church (Marshall)
Pastor Tim Johnson, Wapello Methodist Church (Louisa)
Shari Kastein, Elder, First Reformed Church (Lyon)
*David Klang, Treasurer of Hanford Church (Cerro Gordo)
Pastor Monte Knudsen, Faith Christian Outreach Church (Henry)
Pastor Abe Koehn, Marion Avenue Baptist Church (Washington)
*Pastor John Koopman (Palo Alto)
Brittany Koopman, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church & Peace Lutheran Church
Tom Law, Calvary Community Church (Linn)
Pastor Matt Magee, Oak Grove Church (Benton)
Pastor Dave Martin, Faith Assembly of God (Marshall)
Pastor Edward Mast, Old Paths Baptist Church (Dubuque)
Tammy Mast, Old Paths Baptist Church (Dubuque)
Pastor Ed Matthews, Bible Baptist Church (Wapello)
*Whitney Smith McIntosh, Board Member for Pulse Life Advocates (Polk)
Pastor Randy Miller, Pleasantville Baptist Church (Marion)
Vicki Miller, Pleasantville Baptist Church (Marion)
Pastor Jesse Newman (Polk)
Taya Hirschy, Heartland Church (Polk)
Pastor Harerimana Nshoreyingabo, Redeemed Fellowship Center (Polk)
*Alan Ostergren, Conservative Attorney (Polk)
Pastor Zac Patke, Calvary Baptist Church (O’Brien)
Hannah Patke, Calvary Baptist Church (O’Brien)
Pastor Alfonso Perez, Miracle Life Family Church (Polk)
Pastor Marcial Perez, New Dawn Ministries (Polk)
Pastor Terry Pollard, Eastside Church of Nazarene (Polk)
*To Quiner, President of the Board for Pulse Life Advocates (Polk)
Pastor Andres Reyes, First Baptist Church (Dallas)
Pastor Tim Ried, Associate Pastor, Bethel Baptist Church (Buena Vista)
Sean Sanford, Youth Leader and Small Group Leader (Linn)
Pastor Joyce Schmidt, St. Olaf Lutheran Church (Humboldt)
Tim Schmidt, St. Olaf Lutheran Church (Humboldt)
Pastor Dave Schneider (Polk)
Pastor Anna Schneider (Polk)
*Jean Smith, Secretary of the Board for Pulse Life Advocates (Polk)
Dr. Dave Smith, Evangelist sent out by Liberty Baptist Church (Linn)
Shonna Smith, Wife of Evangelist (Linn)
Pastor Scott Sokol (Hancock)
Pastor Kevin Subra, SonRise Baptist Church (Polk)
Scott Thompson, Elder (Winnebago)
Lori Tiangco, Children’s Ministry at First Church of the Open Bible Des Moines (Polk)
Loren Tiangco, Worship Team at First Church of the Open Bible Des Moines (Polk)
Brenda Vanhofwegen, VP of Women’s Ministry, First Reformed Church (Lyon)
Deacon Rob Vanhofwegen, First Reformed Church (Lyon)
Pastor John Vermeer, Doon United Reformed Church (Lyon)
Pastor Larry Wallingford, Living Waters Assembly of God (Lee)
Pastor Chad Welch, First Baptist Church (Van Buren)
Matt Wells, Lay Leader at Marion Avenue Baptist Church (Washington)
*Pastor Leslie White, CrossFire Church (Fayette)
Pastor Darran Whiting, Liberty Baptist Church (Linn)
Ronda Whiting, Liberty Baptist Church (Linn)
Reverend Shane Wilson, Iglesia Espiritu y Verdad (Polk)