Chick-fil-A restaurants, thrust into the 2012 political wars with its support for traditional marriage, are fast becoming a voter recruiting-ground for Christian evangelical voters by GOP groups eager to boost support for electing more conservatives.
Among the first to seize on the symbolism of the fast-food restaurants has been Concerned Women for America which is taking its "She Votes 2012" bus tour to three Chick-fil-As. The influential group is leading an effort to register some 5 million of 30 million unregistered Christian evangelicals, especially women and moms.
"Conservative chicks prefer Chick-fil-A," said CWA spokeswoman Alice Stewart. "CWA is proud to support a company run by a family that is not afraid to speak of their faith openly, especially in the face of criticism," she added in a reference to protests from gay groups and liberal big city mayors over the firm's opposition to gay marriage.
CWA's She Votes 2012 bus tour stopped at a Chick-fil-A in Cary, N.C. Monday and plans stops at the restaurants in Ashville, N.C., and Roanoke, Va. this week. What's more, CWA was among the first to sign on to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's call for support for a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.
A conservative strategist said that the stops are smart because the ownership is openly Christian but not ardently anti-gay, despite the furor over company president Dan Cathy's opposition to gay marriage. "They were gathering grounds of hungry Christians long before the controversy," said the strategist, who added, "now they have a symbolism and new group of customers."
It's a perfect match for CWA and their bus tour this week to 24 cities in 4 states: Virginia, North Carolina, Montana and North Dakota. This weekend, the tour will continue out west.
Penny Nance, president of CWA, said her bus stops at the restaurants, churches and parks are geared to registering some 5 million Christian evangelicals which she said can turn the election for Mitt Romney. Stewart said that the targets are "pro-life women, pro-family women, and pro-faith women."
She added that the group, which claims 500,000 constituents, is stressing mainstream issues such as the economy and health care. "This is a lot about the economy," she said. "Women understand a lot about balancing a checkbook."