SCC Members Jeopardize RPI’s Credibility By Involving Themselves In SD 35 Race

The nominating convention that will be held this Thursday night to determine the candidate who run to fill the State Senate seat being vacated by Larry Nobel, will not only likely determine who the next State Senator from Ankeny will be, it will also provide a clue as to how members of the Republican State Central Committee may impact the 2012 caucus process.

Officials with the Republican Party of Iowa will conduct the nomination process for the vacancy in Senate District 35.  Unlike a regular primary where the Secretary of State counts the votes, the party assumes the official role in selecting its nominee in this instance.

Recently, eyebrows were raised over the involvement of a handful of State Central Committee members supporting the candidacy of one particular candidate, Matt DeVries.  The four State Central Committee members who are supporting DeVries are also associated with the Campaign for Liberty.

If the Republican Party were not in charge of conducting this election, there wouldn’t be a reason to be concerned about a group of committee members being involved in a primary campaign.  However, since they do control the entire nominating process, the staff and the State Central Committee of the party must take the extra steps necessary to make sure that the party is seen as fair and impartial.

Overseeing the nomination process in a state legislative race is one thing, but overseeing and insuring the validity of the caucus vote takes things to another level.    Having served as the Republican Party of Iowa’s Political Director in 2007, I can’t reiterate enough how important it is for the Republican Party of Iowa to take its roll as a the conductor of the election very seriously.

In 2007, I received criticism because my wife put a Huckabee sign in our front yard.  The incident landed a picture of our home in the Politico and New York Times.  I remained neutral in the caucuses and didn’t even cast a vote because I was in the tabulation center overseeing the votes that came in from every precinct around the state. The Politico story was an unnecessary distraction, especially considering that I went out of my way to treat all candidates fairly. In the current situation, you have party officials (not their family members) openly campaigning for one particular candidate.  It’s no wonder this situation has raised concerns.

During that last caucus season, perhaps no candidate’s supporters were more vocal about their candidate getting the raw end of the deal than Ron Paul’s.  It began when Paul was excluded from a candidate forum put on by Iowans for Tax Relief and the Iowa Christian Alliance in the spring of 2007.  It continued when Paul was excluded from some of the early presidential debates. Even though the Republican Party never excluded Paul from any of its events, his supporters never had faith in the party or the process.

It’s interesting to note that the four State Central Committee members who are supporting DeVries are also associated with the Campaign for Liberty – and thus Ron Paul – It’s more than a little ironic that these four are willing to conduct themselves in a manner that, just a few years ago, they were up in arms about.

I took a lot of heat while working for the Republican Party of Iowa in 2007.  I always made sure that I had a good line of communication with every campaign, even those who suspected that I personally preferred one of their opponents.  Regardless of what others might have thought, the only entity that I looked out for was the Republican Party of Iowa itself.    Every decision that was made was always based on what was in the best interest of party, never a particular candidate.

Fortunately, the party is in good hands for the upcoming caucus cycle.  Throughout the 2010 elections, Chairman Matt Straw conducted himself in a very professional manner.  There were more contested primaries in 2010 than any other year in recent memory, yet there were very few complaints about how Strawn and the party staff conducted themselves.

Strawn has also hired Chad Olsen to serve as his Executive Director.  Olsen is as squeaky clean as you can get.  Not only does he bring a wealth of caucus experience to his position, but he is as honest and fair as anybody you could ever find.  It’s imperative that the party staff remains impartial, but it’s equally important that the members of the State Central Committee don’t undermine the party by their own individual actions.

Anyone who serves on the State Central Committee, is employed by or serves as chairman or co-chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, does so by their own choosing.  Their decision to hold an official position with the party means that they are willing to advance the party itself, not a particular candidate.  If that’s not the case, then they shouldn’t be on the committee.

In order to maintain our First-in-the Nation status, the party must first and foremost prove to all candidates that it is capable of being fair and impartial.  Seeing a sizable percentage of the State Central Committee get involved in an election in a district in which none of them reside is unnecessary and unwise.  Their candidate should be able to win on his/her own merits, not because he has the support of certain party officials.

It seems to me that a handful of Ron Paul’s supporters are now guilty of the very thing so many of his supporters rallied against not long ago.  What a difference a few years makes.

0 thoughts on “SCC Members Jeopardize RPI’s Credibility By Involving Themselves In SD 35 Race

  1. So this means that these four SCC members are now part of the evil “establishment” and DeVries is the establishment’s candidate?

    We can’t have that. We need someone from the grassroots.


  2. Sorry Craig, but this dog won’t hunt. The RPI “leadership” has for years been involving itself in primaries, so calling out the SCC for doing the same is hypocrisy. I myself received “push poll” calls that were funded through Chuck Larson Jr. during the Salier/Ganske primary when they were trying to push that phony “RINO” Ganske down our throats. So what . . . let ‘um do it.

    I take issue with the nonsense that “the staff and the State Central Committee of the party must take the extra steps necessary to make sure that the party is seen as fair and impartial.” Why? This sounds like something right out of a Democrat’s mouth . . . let the party and whoever they want to get involved any way they want – we call that freedom of conscience in America. Conservatives in Iowa already know that the RPI is largely controlled by left leaning, compromisers who only care about winning a majority of seats, not moving a conservative agenda forward. So what does it matter if “so-and-so” in the RPI has an opinon on a primary candidate and expresses it? Conservatives in Iowa are smart enough to see through that crap.

    Personally, I want everyone who has an opinion on a candidate to throw it into the ring, regardless of what their “position” is. Then all the primary voters can weed through all the opinions and discern for themselves who is the right person for the job.


  3. Did we all forget that the State Central Committee members were themselves elected specifically BECAUSE of the kind of “Party” (read: candidates) we rabble wanted them to recruit and promote?

    A personal endorsement is a far cry from using party funds or resources to give a primary candidate an unfair advantage, and, like all endorsements, is nothing more than an heuristic shortcut for the lazy voter.


  4. RR,

    The hypocrisy here is what you are forgetting. It seems these people you are defending didn’t share your opinion about party neutrality just a few years ago.

    Now that they are in power, they are willing to abuse that power. And yes, that’s what it is. It looks terrible for the people who are supposed to be in charge of ensuring a fair election to be pushing for one candidate.


  5. Scott M wrote:

    “The hypocrisy here is what you are forgetting. It seems these people you are defending didn’t share your opinion about party neutrality just a few years ago. Now that they are in power, they are willing to abuse that power. And yes, that’s what it is.”

    I am not defending anyone . . . and there is hypocrisy on both sides . . . so what? Let’s stop the stupid appearance of “propriety” that doesn’t exist, end the hypocrisy on both sides and let every person express their own opinions on a primary regardless of who or what they are. As I said above, conservatives in Iowa have long since figured out they can’t trust the party “leadership” to give them limited government candidates. At one time those folks could have made a difference in their “positions of influence,” but the rank-and-file members of the party no longer have any confidence in them, so their ability to influence is minimal anymore at best.

    “It looks terrible for the people who are supposed to be in charge of ensuring a fair election to be pushing for one candidate.”

    The RPI is in charge of the election, as is clear from Craig’s article, not the SCC.


  6. And the RPI staff has to follow the directives of the SCC. So, the SCC should remain neutral. We’ve had SCC members resign when they decided to back someone in a primary (David Chung). Maybe these guys should think about that.


  7. The 4 CFL members on the SCC should not be involved in any way, shape or form in Thursday night’s election. Period.

    I also sense a disaster looming for the Ames Straw Poll.

    This was a clear plan by CFL to have their members elected to county and state central committees and to try to become delegates. They made no secret about it.

    They cannot be involved in one candidate’s campaign (like DeVries, or later on, Ron Paul) and also serve the Republican Party as a whole.

    It should not happen, period. This goes for all SCC members and party officials. This is a clear conflict of interest.


  8. As I noted yesterday “I expect a party leader to provide leadership”.

    We can go on and on about raising eyebrows and ask who helped who do what and when they did it. Isaiah McGee was appointed “Head of Human Rights” in the Branstad administration after endorsing Branstad very early in the 2010 primary. Correct me if I am wrong but during the primary McGee worked for Branstad while he was on SCC, I double checked comments in The Iowa Republican’s Dec 22 article and nobody scolded McGee or Branstad for “conflicts of interest”.

    I expect that RPI Chairman Matt Strawn has talked to his employee and Barnstormers Assistant Coach/SD-35 candidate Jack Whitver about his candidacy or is helping him.

    Jim Goeke is another RPI Chairman Matt Strawn connection since Goeke law partner Lamberti is a business partner with RPI Chairman Matt Strawn. Again, I expect they talked or help is involved.

    I like knowing where my leaders stand. “conflicts of interest”? No, just politics.


  9. 40 years ago, this would have been unheard of. All that changed with the divine diving for dollars.
    Steve Sheffler and others on the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee paved the way for this taking jobs with presidential candidates. Iowa’s Republican National Committee representatives since 2008 have denounced Republican candidates.
    No wonder presidential candidates have been gun shy about coming to Iowa for 2012.
    Candidate, single issue cause, or party, some need to get their priorities straight. District and State Convention delegates in 2012 need to clean house on those who use party to promote the others.


  10. “Correct me if I am wrong but during the primary McGee worked for Branstad while he was on SCC……”

    You’re wrong. McGee did NOT work Branstad, before or after the primary. He did work for the Republican Party of Iowa AFTER the primary.


  11. RedState, you are missing the entire point. “Talking to” one or more of the candidates is fine. As Chairman, I expect Matt Strawn to be available for ALL the candidates.

    The problem is this: If you are in charge of the election….who votes, how the votes are counted, or counting the votes yourself, you should not publicly endorsing or backing one particular candidate. This applies to everyone, not just the CFL group.


  12. RedState..

    I have long been a critic of SCC members working for or endorsing candidates.  If you’re wanting to serve the State Party as a whole, then that means you need to be neutral towards candidates in a primary.

    When I was chair of my county Central Committee, I went out of my way to show no favoritism towards any candidate.  All candidates running for the nomination of the GOP were welcome and were invited to any and all events in our county.

    Carrying a leadership title comes with responsibilities…one of which is making sure that GOP voters have all the information at hand to make their choice as to who represents them on the ballot.

    By going out and endorsing a candidate, you inhibit their ability to do that because obviously, you’re biased towards the candidate you support.

    Thats the ENTIRE problem with the CFL members that are on SCC endorsing a candidate in the SD 35 race.  They are doing a disservice to the GOP rank and file they represent.   Instead, they should be out there encouraging any and all Republicans who wish to seek this nomination to step up to the plate.

    These SCC members need to look to the example of their fellow SCC member David Chung.  In 2009, Chung resigned from the SCC to go work on behalf of Christian Fong’s governor campaign.   Chung stated very clearly that he was resigning in order to AVOID the very conflict of interest that Craig deftly illustrates in the article.

    After Fong’s campaign ended, Chung ran for election in 2010 for the SCC and won overwhelmingly because he had the respect of people in the 2nd District for his principled stand.

    Those are the kind of people we need on the SCC, RedState…not those who are on there merely to advance particular candidates or an agenda.


  13. McGee did not work on the Branstad campaign staff before the primary, but he did actively campaign for Branstad while serving on the RPI SCC:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, January 8, 2010

    Contact: Tim Albrecht

    (URBANDALE) – The Branstad 2010 Committee today announced that former Waukee City Councilman and current Republican State Central Committee member Isaiah McGee will serve as the campaign’s Young Professionals Chair.

    “Young professionals are drawn to leaders who understand how to communicate to different groups of people and bring them together under a solid positive vision.” said McGee. “The next generation of Iowans are looking for a CEO of this state who will make a hands-on commitment to economic development. Governor Branstad is a trusted leader who will create jobs and other opportunities for young professionals in Iowa. My fellow young professionals and I look forward to sharing the governor’s vision for Iowa’s economic comeback.”

    Isaiah is owner of McGee Strategies LLC, a consulting, training, and coaching firm specializing in the areas of generational behavior and emerging leadership development. He has traveled to communities across the state to address business and professional groups.

    “We are excited to have Isaiah on board,” said Gov. Branstad. “His excitement and enthusiastic support will be tremendously beneficial as my campaign continues in our efforts to attract young people.”


  14. If memory serves, McGee also appeared in at least one Branstad television commercial before the primary. He wasn’t identified by name in the commercial, though.


  15. The issues run deep:

    McGee should not have endorsed before the primary, nor should any SCC members, in any race.

    The CFL members must not have involvement in the Ames Straw Poll or the Caucuses, assuming Paul is running, because we all know they will be trying to organize for Ron Paul.

    We have County Chairs who claimed they would not support Branstad even if he won the primary. (My understanding is they changed their tune, but it never should have been voiced in the first place).

    We have central committee officers in some counties who actively campaigned for an independent candidate.

    We have a national committeewoman who sabotaged Miller Meeks campaign in 2008.

    To borrow a phrase, all these people should know their roles & shut their mouths!! Their roles are to serve THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.


  16. hahaha…you all assume the central committee has power. bahahwahhahahaaaaaa. they don’t do anything. They have no power. They have no oversight. Who freakin cares who they endorse? I think they should endorse. They should provide oversite. They should be loud! They should overpower the folks who keep them powerless. The SCC should have oversite power of the purse. Instead, they are just patted on the head and told to shut up. Power to the people baby….go SCC. Keep them honest. Fight fight fight!


  17. “To borrow a phrase, all these people should know their roles & shut their mouths!! Their roles are to serve THE REPUBLICAN PARTY”

    That really says it all doesn’t it?


  18. I Vote: And what do you think committee members should be doing?

    No one should feel obligated to support or vote for someone with which they disagree but if a committee member does not want to support the Republican candidates, they should just keep their mouths shut, or resign.

    Of course, it make no sense to me why ANY Republican would ever be willing to surrender any seat to a Democrat. I’ll walk over broken glass to create Republican majorities.

    I recall a few times I’ve had to hold my nose and vote for someone I didn’t like but when I stack up a Ganske against Harkin, Ganske looks pretty darned good.

    We must deal in reality.


  19. If a cause under the guise of a 501(c)4 provides your salary, get on the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee and attack anybody you wish to line your wallet. Just ask our Republican National Committee people.


  20. It is sad that this site appears to have degraded to the point that it is nothing by a host of regular posters jumping on their anti-somebody soap boxes at every opportunity.

    It this comment thread we see DVFO again attacking BVP, and Deace (though not specifically by name). We see WasherWoman attacking Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman, and CVN again attacks anyone who backs a candidate other than the projected winner.

    Craig – Thank you for bring up something you are concerned about within party politics. I wish we could discuss the topic instead just posting personal attacks.

    I understand you desire for impartiality, but I do not think that requires complete neutrality. I am not at all concerned with anyone within the party speaking out in support of a candidate or candidates. I am concerned if they let their support for a particular candidate get in the way of advancing the party and its principles as a whole, or if they start using party resources to support individual primary candidates.

    Beyond that I agree with RSV and RR… Speak loudly and proudly. Say what you will, on record, and for all the party to hear.


  21. Belikebunce: A bit paranoid here? Talk about attacks, you’re a bit thin skinned.

    Your point makes no sense as anything I’ve talked about is not an attack on anyone except someone who may decide to not support the party’s nominee.

    Are you in that category?


  22. Exposing John Gotti is a personal attack, not addressing the issue.
    John Gotti was simply practicing capitalism unbridled and as long as he did not use party, or government resources, so what.


  23. So after all the hand-wringing, what exactly did these four SCC members do? We have unnamed sources claiming they are “actively supporting” one candidate, but what precisely are they doing to provide this active support? Now presumably they would prefer someone from their organization to win, someone they’ve worked with and know personally, but beyond that presumption, is there any evidence of improper activity? What we have is a lot of people sitting around saying, “well, if there is no smoke, there must be a really big fire.”


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