Candidates seeking evangelical votes in South Carolina - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Candidates seeking evangelical votes in South Carolina

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) -

As Republican presidential candidates make their way through South Carolina there is one kind of voter that lives in each part of the state, and always shows up to the polls.

"So, when I look at candidates I think my number one positions is going to be pro-life, because the life that God has given you and I is the most important thing ever," said Craig Butler who identifies himself as an evangelical voter. But like many others he's undecided. 

Heather Erbentraut said an evangelical candidate should have integrity, "If they are going to hide things in their personal life they will also hide things from us as the public when they are working for us."

Dr. Peter Beck is a professor of theology at Charleston Southern University. He said in this primary the evangelical vote means more than previous states. In South Carolina he said evangelical voters know they matter.

"I think this election people are looking through the words and asking what does he really mean when he says that I believe X," said Beck.

Beck said times have changed and evangelicals may not be able to pick a candidate exactly like them. But voters will ask if their basic values are in line with their beliefs.

"Will there be some who won't vote for Santorum because he's a Catholic of course or Romney or because this person isn't religious. America is becoming less and less churched. We still an awful high esteem if our candidates have some kind of faith value," said Beck.

Beck said even in Charleston where voters tend to be more moderate in their political views.  He said some politicians can still draw a large numbers of faith based voters.  

"There was something about Congressman Scott that appealed to the evangelical base," said Beck.  

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