HSLDA’s Will Estrada Endorses Ted Cruz

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

In a public Facebook status today, HSLDA Director of Federal Relations Will Estrada declared his endorsement of Senator Ted Cruz for President.

“I am proud to endorse Ted Cruz for President,” Estrada says, “and to be named one of the national co-chairs of the ‘Homeschoolers for Cruz’ coalition.” The coalition, announced today on Cruz’s website, boasts “an astounding 6,670 members.” You can watch Cruz’s video announcement of the coalition below:

According to Cruz’s website, “The group represents homeschool communities across the country who are dissatisfied with their local school districts, the recent implementation of Common Core, or just wish to be more involved in their children’s upbringing.” The coalition is co-chaired by Estrada, Quiverfull advocate Marlin Bontrager, and former Mike Huckabee campaigner Vicki Crawford. Last year Crawford arranged to have Cruz speak at the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators’ (NICHE) Homeschool Day at the Capitol on March 18, saying, “He’s the perfect match for us [homeschoolers].”

Estrada’s endorsement of Cruz comes at a curious time, considering the efforts HSLDA has made over the last couple years to distance itself from the Christian male supremacy movement known as “Christian Patriarchy.” Marlin Bontrager, who co-chairs the coalition with Estrada, is a long-time supporter of the now-disgraced Christian Patriarchy advocate Doug Phillips and his organization Vision Forum. Bontrager has his family in ATI, both performing as well as participating in the Children’s Institute, ALERT Academy, and other ATI institutions. Bontrager endorses Above Rubies, the Duggar family, and Michael and Debi Pearl.

Marlin Bontrager, co-chair of the “Homeschoolers for Cruz” Coalition with Will Estrada, poses with his two daughters next to Doug Phillips and his daughters at a Vision Forum event. Photo via the Bontrager Family Singers website.

Last year Ted Cruz was a featured speaker at both the National Religious Liberties Conference, organized by outspoken Christian Patriarchy advocate Kevin Swanson, as well as Bob Jones University, a heavily patriarchal school recently rocked by major sexual abuse allegations. Last November Cruz also was excited and proud to receive the endorsement of Flip Benham, who has long been a supporter of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, also a heavily patriarchal (and legalistic) organization founded by the now-disgraced Bill Gothard. Gothard faces sexual harassment accusations from 30 women, 5 of whom are suing IBLP.

According to Cruz’s website, 82 other individuals have been selected to be “leaders” in the Cruz/homeschool coalition. These individuals are:

Leslie Beck
Joshua Bontrager
Carson Bontrager
Mitchell Bongtrager
Allison Bontrager
Chelsy Bontrager
Becky Bontrager
Joseph Brown
Gary Bryan
Kim Bryan
Caleb Burke
Gary Buske
Jason Conner
Mary Cory
Thomas Cory
Jacob Cowman
Samantha Cowman
Dale Crawford
Jeanette Davis
Nate Day
Amy Deace
Steve Deace
Mark Deford
Joe Desaulniers
Sadie Desaulniers
John Desaulniers
Wes Desaulniers
Allison Desaulniers
Tina Dicks
Bethany Dorin
Mary Dorin
Tyler Dorin
Benjamin Dorin
Bryan English
Amy English
Allan Frandson
Amanda Friedl
Bethany Gates
Kristi German
Tom German
Will Ghormley
Judy Goodman
Rob Goodman
Dennis Guth
Mike Habermann
Greg Heartsill
Adam Horning
Brian Kelly
Jan Kendall
Spencer Keroff
Joel Kurtinitis
Kelsey Kurtiitis
Byron Linden
Tim Lubinus
Preston Martens
Kaylee Morris
Marie Morris
Josie Morris
Heather Nandell
George Nelson
Vance Nordaker
Michelle Ober
Rhonda Paine
Kristine Pfab
Ron Richardson
James Snow
Deanna Snow
Jeff Stillwell
Joseph Stillwell
Josiah Stillwell
Kim Stillwell
Kevin Subra
Judith Trumpy
James Unger
Adam Vandall
Tasha Vos
Erin Watkins
Daniel Watkins
Sue West
Darran Whiting
Debi Zahn
Karice Zahn

In other news, Ted Cruz’s super-PAC is being led by David Barton, a controversial historian also popular among conservative Christian homeschoolers.

Archives of above links: Estrada’s endorsement of Cruz | “Homeschoolers for Cruz” Coalition announcement | Bontrager’s “Recommended Resources”

12 thoughts on “HSLDA’s Will Estrada Endorses Ted Cruz

  1. noisycrow January 5, 2016 / 12:18 pm

    Mark those names well. And vote against them.


  2. sheila0405 January 5, 2016 / 2:59 pm

    Sigh. If Cruz ends up the nominee, I’ll have to vote for Hillary.


    • John Smith January 6, 2016 / 12:56 pm

      I doubt Cruz cares what they do so long as he gets endorsed. Cruz is a maneuverer, who took on the GOP establishment in Washington primarily for his own glorification in the eyes of the GOP’s social conservative faction in anticipation for the presidential race. Alas for for his base, however, he would become yet another neocon/RINO puppet if elected. Trump, of course, would not; but he’s insufficiently socially conservative, so people like the HLSDA are between a rock and a hard place.


      • sheila0405 January 6, 2016 / 1:29 pm

        I don’t care if HSLDA is between a rock and a hard place. I dislike the organization. I dislike Huckabee & Santorum. I’m not conservative, nor do I want a theocracy. Donald Trump is a deceiver. I’m an independent, mostly moderate, and this GOP horse race has me going nuts.


  3. David January 5, 2016 / 5:12 pm

    It appears that some failed Critical Thinking 101, at least the section on the “Guilt by association” fallacy.
    Just because someone endorses someone – the one endorsed is not (in the absence of any other evidence) guilty of sharing their wrong beliefs.
    I’ve been a supporter of Cruz since the GOP primary for US Senate in TX but I reject quiverfull and patriarchy.
    Also, it’s absurd for anyone who cares about freedom of faith, freedom of speech, national security, integrity in government, competence in government, affordable healthcare, etc. to ever threaten to vote for Hillary Clinton.
    Not only can nothing positive be listed of significance that she’s ever accomplished – the list of her failures & wrong-headedness is nearly endless.
    Our current president was endorsed by anti-Christians, anti-Semites, criminals, domestic terrorists, separatist racists, and more – is he guilty of all of those things?
    The same will endorse Hillary – will she also be guilty of them – by association?
    Rumor has it that Donald Trump was endorsed by David Duke – does that make Trump guilty of Duke’s views?
    Can we please slow down and think?


    • R.L. Stollar January 5, 2016 / 8:44 pm

      You’re reading your own “guilt by association” interpretation into the text. I simply described the connections; I never interpreted them.

      That said, Cruz did select Marlin Bontrager and Will Estrada to co-chair the coalition. Normally when someone appoints someone else to a position of leadership and influence, it’s a reasonable interpretation that the appointer is to some extent endorsing the appointee. So I wouldn’t be surprised if many interpret Cruz’s appointments to reflect agreement or reciprocity with Bontrager and Estrada to some extent. But to what extent is certainly open to interpretation and debate.


      • Headless Unicorn Guy January 6, 2016 / 6:03 am

        The same Cruz whose reaction to the Syrian refugee crisis was “Only admit the CHRISTIANS”?

        (Begging the question of how he defines “Christian”. Most Middle Eastern Christians wouldn’t pass the American Evangelical Litmus Test, never mind the Truly Reformed or Homeschooler litmus tests. Remember those 21 Coptic martyrs?)


  4. Timber St. James January 5, 2016 / 9:46 pm

    I get the distinct feeling America will again get precisely the president it deserves in 2016. We can’t seem to break our addiction to outrage porn.


    • Headless Unicorn Guy January 6, 2016 / 5:59 am

      Some of my buds in SF litfandom are making odds when the US will get its first dictator.

      Current odds are first coup (from within or without) by 2020.


  5. Eleanor Skelton January 7, 2016 / 12:01 am

    How intriguing.


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