In a new television ad scheduled to debut in Iowa this weekend, the Florida senator outlines the Christian principles by which he lives his life. “Our goal is eternity, the ability to live alongside our creator for all time, to accept the free gift of salvation offered to us by Jesus Christ,” Rubio says in the ad. “The struggle on a daily basis as a Christian is to remind ourselves of this.”
An observant Catholic, Rubio seems to be trying to make inroads with evangelicals in Iowa, where Ted Cruz has been consolidating support among the religious Right.
Pastors in the Hawkeye State have previously expressed doubts about whether Rubio would adhere to socially conservative doctrine as president—particularly since Paul Singer, a New York billionaire who has funneled millions of dollars into promoting gay rights, announced he would back Rubio last fall.
This ad may be an attempt to silence those concerns, not only in Iowa, but also in the Bible Belt states whose primaries fall on Super Tuesday: Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas. However, with Cruz already campaigning alongside evangelical pastors throughout those Southern states, Rubio will need something more substantive than this TV ad to prove his Christian bona fides.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly called Iowa the Cornhusker State. Iowa is the Hawkeye State.