THOMAS BEAUMONT and KASIE HUNT
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican presidential candidates are competing to position themselves as a more conservative alternative to early front-runner Mitt Romney, and that's what is bringing them to Iowa for an event with 1,000 evangelical activists.
These voters have yet to rally around any single 2012 candidate. In 2008, their support lifted former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to victory in the Iowa GOP caucuses.
Among the 2012 contenders expected at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition forum Saturday night in Des Moines are Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.
Romney won't be there - he's campaigning in New Hampshire.
The former Massachusetts governor has had a thorny relationship with Iowa's social conservatives, some who have doubts about his Mormon faith and shifts on key social issues.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)