Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) In a conservative party filled with conservative candidates, Brownback is a true-blue conservative. A late convert to Roman Catholicism, he is strongly pro-life and an uncompromising opponent of stem-cell research. Status: Dropped Out.
NPR logo Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)

Candidacy status: Dropped out on Oct. 19, 2007.

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First Campaign

Read about Sam Brownback's first campaign.

At a Glance: Sam Brownback

Sam Brownback is a politician who might be mistaken for a mild-mannered preacher — especially since the Kansas senator remains relatively unknown to many potential voters. A late convert to Roman Catholicism, Brownback's anti-abortion, pro-Bible world views have made him the darling of religious conservatives. "Life," proclaims his Web site, "is beautiful." At the same time, he has said that the Republican Party should absolutely not back a pro-choice presidential candidate — a not-so-indirect slap at former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Once upon a time, political observers thought that Brownback perhaps had a shot at being a running mate to a less-conservative nominee. But his less-than-stellar reviews in the presidential debates helped extinguish his chances for national office. On Oct. 19, Brownback abandoned his presidential bid, which had been crippled by a lack of money and a failure to gain traction nationwide.

His strong stands against embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning and same-sex unions rival those of the man who was his closest fellow traveler in the GOP presidential pack, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. But the two men have very different approaches: Brownback's laid-back manner contrasts wildly with Huckabee's charismatic, folksy charm.

Brownback calls himself a "compassionate conservative," and he has put his actions where his mouth is. He strongly supports funding for AIDS research, and has spoken out against the situation in Darfur.

What social conservatives may not find so appealing: Brownback's support for comprehensive immigration reform, as embodied in the 2006 bill passed by the Senate. While still a presidential candidate, Brownback emphasized the bill's border control and workplace-enforcement provisions; but he is on record as endorsing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.