Amidst evangelical firestorm, Vote Common Good hosts first candidate forum focused on faith

Three-day Faith, Politics & the Common Good Summit in Des Moines kicks off 50-state bus tour; presidential, Senate, House candidates to attend trainings on how to talk about faith on campaign trail

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Robb Ryerse, political director at Vote Common Good, speaks to U.S. Senate Kimberly Graham at a Vote Common Good forum Dec. 9.

DES MOINES: Led by Vote Common Good executive director Doug Pagitt, a first-of-its-kind event is prompting candidates, faith leaders and voters to have a substantive discussion on religion and politics.

Marianne Williamson, John Delaney and Bill Weld kicked off the conversations featuring presidential candidates on Thursday. In addition to the presidential forums, the three-day event will is featuring trainings of congressional and senate candidates about how to talk about faith on the campaign trail. Candidates from Iowa, Colorado and Michigan were expected to attend.

The three-day summit will serve as the launch of a 50-state bus tour led by VCG that will feature rallies, candidate trainings, poll parties and roundtable discussions in an effort to convince faith voters who are concerned about President Trump’s policies that they don’t have to stick with by his side in 2020. The first stops of the tour will be in Sioux City on Saturday evening — with Congressional candidate J.D. Scholten, challenger of incumbent Iowan Representative Steve King — and Orange City on Sunday.

“Trump’s misguided approach to ‘America First’ has caused many voters of faith to rethink their support for him,” said Doug Pagitt, executive director of Vote Common Good. “If just 5 percent of faith voters move away from Trump, he doesn’t stand a chance.”

The overall schedule for the weekend’s events on the VCG website is available here.

The workshop schedule and details are available here.

The full main session schedule and details are available here.

Evangelical Civil War

The Vote Common Good summit takes place in the middle of a national firestorm around evangelical voters and 2020 that some have dubbed a “civil war.” Late last month, Christianity Today editorialized that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, and the president last week held an “Evangelicals for Trump” rally in Florida. This weekend’s event will zero in on what it means to be a faith voter moving forward as more members of this voting bloc express their discontent with the policies of the Trump administration.

The first presidential candidate forum focused on faith will highlight the three-day event, during which candidates will lead a conversation with Pagitt and other religious leaders around the role faith plays in their lives.

Pagitt launched Vote Common Good in 2018 with a cross-country bus tour in collaboration with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, targeting 31 districts where a Democratic challenger sought to unseat a Republican incumbent. Through the tour, Pagitt and Vote Common Good connected these Democratic candidates with voters of faith who had become disillusioned with the politics and policies of the GOP, proving that the support of faith voters does not lie solely with Republicans.

Now, as we head into critical elections in 2020, Vote Common Good is raising the stakes and expanding its organizing model to energize “moveable faith voters” to elect Democrats across the country.

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