Republican Presidential Hopefuls Find Spending, Economy Top Issues

By: THOMAS BEAUMONT - Associated Press Writer
By: THOMAS BEAUMONT - Associated Press Writer

Republican candidates for president are discovering that the economy and government spending are trumping the usual issues of abortion and gay marriage in socially conservative Iowa.

Republican candidates are making regular appearances in the state, which will hold the first-in-the-nation caucuses in the 2012 presidential race early next year. Republican leaders in Iowa say voters are making clear that the top issue for them will be the nation's budget deficit.

The concerns about fiscal issues could provide an opening for a fiscal hawk in the state. Evangelical conservatives usually have the advantage. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister, won the Iowa Republican contest in 2008.

Pro-business and conservative fiscal groups are planning to hold a number of candidate events this summer and fall to emphasize economic issues.

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