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More GOP governors RSVP ‘no’ to Perry/AFA prayer rally

With about six weeks to go until Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer and fasting event in Houston, a growing handful of Republican governors are saying they won’t be attending the rally hosted by the controversial American Family Association.

Perry, who chairs the Republican Governors Association, sent out invitations to all 49 other state leaders for the Aug. 6 event at Reliant Stadium. As the Texas Independent reported earlier this week, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and (according to Politico) Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels won’t be at the stadium this August, either due to scheduling conflicts or unspecified reasons, while Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi has yet to finalize his August schedule. In addition, another four Republican Governors have recently made clear they cannot attend.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin will not be joining Perry and the prayer crowd due to previous scheduling engagements, said spokesperson Aaron Cooper, adding that the governor remains supportive of such efforts. In May, Fallin keynoted a prayer event coordinated by the Oklahoma City National Day of Prayer Task Force, a coalition of pro-life and ‘pro-family’ groups in her state. The same goes for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who will not be heading to this event in August for the similar reasons. Press Secretary Sara Wurfel says the governor is intensely focusing on “turning around Michigan’s economy,” and can’t take part, pointing instead to Snyder’s May proclamation calling for a “Michigan Day of Prayer.”

Aides from the offices of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said those state leaders are not permitted to attend due to previous engagements. Meanwhile, governors John Kasich of Ohio and Bob McDonnell of Virginia are still working through their agenda commitments, leaving the decision up to a later date, say staff press secretaries. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is the only governor thus far to accept his invitation to the all-day prayer and fasting rally dubbed “The Response,” a “non-political” Christian-based event.

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