How Michael Flynn goes local to spread Christian nationalism in Indiana
Indiana’s conservative Gov. Mike Pence has put more money into the Indiana GOP’s House and Senate campaigns this fall than ever before. He’s also put the state’s first office of the Family Leader’s local affiliate, a conservative lobbying group, on the ballot.
David Pion, a Family Leader lobbyist, who is registered as a Republican, spent his first few months in office promoting the business-minded, anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-homosexual-marriage Family Leader.
“Indiana has never seen this,” the Family Leader’s candidate for county clerk, Steve Smith, told conservative activist and author Matt Barber, who has promoted the Family Leader’s platform for years.
But Pion, who spent the fall campaign talking to voters on the front end, was careful not to promote the Family Leader’s agenda beyond the religious right.
Smith, the Family Leader’s preferred candidate for county clerk, is a devout Christian and conservative social and fiscal conservative. A former Navy SEAL, Smith opposes gay marriage and legalized abortion. He has a strong personal support base, including the local Family Leader chapter. His campaign was started with his signature.
Despite Pion’s local-affairs focus, he also put the Family Leader’s name on the ballot for its first candidate for governor up for election.
Voters in the state’s 1st District, which encompasses Marion and Posey counties, choose between Democrat Mike Pence, a former governor, and Republican Congressman Todd R. Rokita, who ran on a platform that includes opposition to abortion, gay marriage and immigration. The 1st District has voted for Republicans since the early 1900s.
In the run-up to Election Day, Pion put the Family Leader on the ballot for the local board of elections, and Smith for the county clerk’s office.
Pence and the conservative Indiana Chamber of Commerce, which is backing Smith, pushed the Family Leader and its candidate on the ballot before they could get on the