Republican presidential candidates took the podium over the weekend at the Pray Vote Stand Summit to give their pitches to a large audience of Christians. Four candidates made notably spirited speeches to the core voting group, often echoing similar sentiments while trying to diversify themselves from their better-known and better-polling counterparts.
Former Vice President Mike Pence was the first of these four to take the stage and give his speech. A well-known believer, Pence remarked that he was “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”
Pence focused on the “erosion of the traditional family,” vowing to uphold the merits of such a family while fighting things like transgenderism and abortion that are being pushed on young adults and children.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis followed several hours later and garnered a positive response from the audience as he focused on his record as governor and defending Florida from woke ideology. At one point in his speech, DeSantis even said that “reviving the spirit of America” begins with “religious institutions.”
CEO Vivek Ramaswamy was next to take the stand. Ramaswamy’s campaign has often focused on engaging and drawing in a younger, like-minded crowd. His Pray Vote Stand speech was no different. He decried “secular religions” like racial and gender ideologies, which he said were reflections of a grander “national identity crisis.”
He used the Exodus account of the Israelites wanting to return to Egypt under slavery as an example of the loss of vision that is now typified by America. However, besides this relation, Ramaswamy did not extensively cover the effects of religion on his life.
The last and longest speech of the night was given by former President Donald Trump, who leaned heavily on his presidential record and history of championing the causes of Christians and conservatives. Trump did not relate faith to his life but focused more on what he did while in office.
At the end of his speech, Trump lambasted President Joe Biden’s policies, which Trump said have turned the United States into a “joke” of a nation. He finished his speech with a final driving rally for conservative Christians to unite behind him.
All-in-all, Trump’s message seemed to resonate well with the audience.
The straw poll held at the Pray Vote Summit saw the former president garner nearly 64% of the vote while DeSantis came in at just over 27%. Everyone else followed in the single digits. However, DeSantis a vice-presidential topped poll with 25% of the vote, followed closely by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott at 19.2%.