The state director of the Ohio branch of the national Christian Coalition of America has released a statement distancing himself from the Rev. Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani, as well. As in Iowa, the Ohio Christian Coalition broke with the national organization in 2006, changing its name and re-organizing as the non-profit Ohio Christian Alliance. That Richard Vara, the Ohio state director for the still-surviving though much diminished national group, should come out so strongly against the former New York mayor is more surprising than the Iowa rebuke, because he represents the more establishmentarian Christian Coalition, rather than one of the new independent upstart Christian Alliances, which might be expected to stand up to national figures like Robertson:

As the newly appointed state director of the Ohio Christian Coalition, I wish to announce that Mr. Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani, is to be regarded as Pat's personal choice for president and does not reflect the views of the Ohio Christian Coalition. It is in my humble opinion and
based on conversations with both individuals and leaders of the conservative Christian community's around the state, Giuliani, will not receive significant support from Ohio's value voters.

Ohio value voters can be expected to act with discretion and vigilance in voting for candidates' strong on conviction and a willingness to fulfill campaign promises. For this reason the Christian vote must not be assumed by any one candidate or party. The social issues of value voters are viewed as being to crucial too risk in the hands of a candidate's who minimize their importance.

Overall members of the value voter community are reserving their pledge of support for candidate's who will acknowledge and take-up their issues.

And don't feel bad if you missed the story of how the national Christian Coalition suffered major defections by its Iowa, Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio branches last year, and how those new groups banded together into a rival coalition that now includes Michigan and Pennsylvania chapters, as well. It doesn't seem to have gotten all that much play.

--Garance Franke-Ruta