Texas pastor Ryan Binkley says he can bridge divisiveness in 2024 campaign

By: - May 9, 2023 5:17 pm

Ryan Binkley, a Texas pastor, announced his 2024 presidential campaign in April. (Photo courtesy of the Binkley campaign)

Presidential candidate Ryan Binkley said he intends to focus on solutions to America’s problems to distinguish himself from better-known Republican competitors in the 2024 nominating contest.

Binkley came to Iowa for the first time Tuesday, speaking with reporters before holding a Waterloo town hall meeting. It was his first campaign trip after announcing his presidential candidacy in Texas on April 23. Binkley said he began considering a run for president eight years ago because “there needs to be some change in our country.” That thought kept coming up in the ensuing years, he said, and two years ago he began working with others to start putting together a campaign.

The Texas Republican said he could help spur the needed change in America by bridging the divide between Democrats, Republicans and independent voters. Polls show a majority of Americans believe the nation is more divided now than in the past, and a majority are dissatisfied with the direction America is going. Despite these feelings, Binkley said, Americans voted for “status quo” in the 2022 midterms, when an anticipated “red wave” failed to materialize in much of the country.

“I think that’s because the message is not resonating — of a change that’s worth changing for — or the messengers aren’t resonating with voters,” Binkley said.

Binkley is the CEO, president and co-founder of Generational Equity Group, a mergers and acquisitions business group, and a co-founder and pastor of Create Church in Richardson, Texas. He is one of many Republicans hoping to be the messenger for a conservative agenda in the upcoming presidential election. He’s entering a field of high-profile candidates that include former President Donald Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Others, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence are expected to join soon.

While he does not have the name recognition of Trump or DeSantis, Binkley said he wants to win over voters by talking about issues that other leaders don’t talk about such as the national debt.

“I don’t think any of our leaders recently are talking about the debt problem that we really have today,” he said. “Many Republicans have been spending as much money as Democrats. They complain about it, but at the end of the day, you’ve added $6-7 trillion to our money supply in the last few years … Democrats and Republicans did it. So Republicans don’t talk about it a lot, but we have to talk about it. And then when we talk about it, I think we have to be transparent and authentic about it.”

A “far right” fiscal conservative, Binkley said he would create a plan to pay off the $31 trillion in national debt — an issue that he said could bring young voters and some Democrats to his side because the debt will be detrimental to younger generations’ quality of life.

He also said he plans to focus on issues that appeal to voters across party lines. Binkley suggested supporting plans to create more “competition” and transparency among health care providers and insurance carriers. He also proposed a volunteer program for young adults to help improve educational outcomes in underserved urban communities.

The country’s opioid epidemic — and a surge of overdose deaths from fentanyl — can be addressed by securing the U.S.-Mexico border, he said. He said stopping overdose deaths and human trafficking “should not be Republican” issues. He supports building a “physical barrier” on the southern border, in addition to setting up permanent processes for undocumented families’ status in the United States.

Binkley said there are places to find common ground with Democrats and independents. While he leans conservative on cultural issues, opposing abortion and transgender women competing in women’s sports, he said his campaign is “asking people to step back and respect each other” when disagreeing on these issues.

“I think the Republicans, we and I, can do a better job of communicating that if we’re trying to convince them that a message that we believe in is better for the poorest in society, immigrants, better for them as young people. We’ve got to also show them that we’re transparent in that,” he said.

In addition to his in-person stops in Iowa, Binkley’s campaign began airing ads in Iowa on Monday, making a purchase of more than $250,000 in television and radio spots.

Binkley said he is planning more trips on the Iowa caucus trail in the coming months. He said he believes his campaign is different from others.

“I call it a strong financial conservative message with love: love for the poor, love for the hurting,” Binkley said. “And we can put a plan together to solve some of the biggest problems.”

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Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. They have experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald.