Paul Could Surprise In Iowa

By Craig Robinson

Texas Congressman Ron Paul announced that he is forming a 2012 presidential exploratory committee in Des Moines yesterday. The expected step allows Paul to participate in a May 5th Fox News debate in South Carolina as well as to begin to act like a presidential candidate while making appearances around the country.

In addition to announcing the formation of an exploratory committee, Paul also revealed some key additions to his Iowa team. Paul’s 2008 Iowa Caucus Chairman, Drew Ivers, will once again call the shots for his eventual Iowa campaign. Joining Ivers is David Fischer and A.J. Spiker. All three of them are elected members of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee as well as officials with the Iowa branch of the Campaign for Liberty.

Ivers brings to the campaign an exceptional understanding of the caucus process. In the 2008 race, Paul’s campaign didn’t get serious about actually turning out its supporters to the caucuses until very late in 2008. Despite the early lack of seriousness from Paul’s national campaign, Ivers was able to assemble a formidable campaign operation. The only problem was that they ran out of time.

Paul’s campaign brought a lot of new people into the process in 2008. Since Iowa is a caucus state, those new people need to be told what to do, what to expect, and even where to vote. Paul’s 2012 Iowa Caucus campaign will be much more prepared and have a longer period of time to prepare its supporters for next year’s caucuses.

Paul’s team might not be full of your typical Iowa politicos, but Ivers, Fischer, and Spiker bring some unique advantages to the campaign. First, since all three are members of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee, they will not only have a jump on knowing the rules and regulations of the straw poll, debates, and caucus, but they will also have the ability to craft those policies.

In 2007, the central committee voted on debate criteria and what candidates were allowed to participate in the Straw Poll itself. Having three members of a campaign sit on the board of directors of the state party is a huge advantage.

Ivers, Fischer, and Spiker, each also hail from areas that are in close proximity to the Ames, the site of the straw poll. Spiker is a realtor from Ames, Fischer has been involved with Polk County politics for years, and Ivers is from north-central Iowa. It will be easy for each for each of them to encourage his own personal network to head to Ames to support their candidate.

Since Paul is currently the only candidate in the field who also ran in 2008, he also has the advantage of having pre-identified supporters from his last campaign. Paul received 1305 votes in the 2007 straw poll. He finished fifth, but the political environment has shifted in his favor, and he has become much better known in the state since then. If there is a Straw Poll dark horse, it very well could be Ron Paul.

For all of the advantages Ron Paul may have, there are also plenty of things about his campaign that may make you scratch your head. Paul’s trips to the state often include visits to college campuses. There is nothing wrong with that, and in fact, his appeal to the younger generation may be one of his strongest attributes, but college kids have traditionally not shown a great propensity to attend the caucuses.

While Paul has made lots of campus visits, it seems as if he goes out of his way to not attend major events that attract local and national media coverage. Ron Paul was in Iowa doing campaign appearances with The FAMiLY Leader on March 7th, but chose to opt out of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s spring event that attracted hundreds of journalists from all across the county.

Regardless of how Paul would have gone over with the crowd that night, he would have been a winner that day simply because of the exposure he would have gotten with Iowans who might not be familiar with him. Later in March, Paul was also in Iowa just days before Congressman Steve King’s Conservative Principles Conference, another event that drew a tremendous amount of media coverage.

While shying away from large gathering of likely caucus goers is a strange campaign tactic, Paul has also held very few campaign events in communities across the states. Most serious caucus campaigns hold events in most of Iowa’s 99 counties. Paul, on the other hand, has avoided such events thus far. By not doing those types of events, he limits his ability to grow his support in Iowa.

Still, Paul is a serious contender in Iowa. Armed with some of the most motivated and committed supporters of anyone in the field, Paul may be primed to impact Iowa in a major way. With a more conventional approach to his 2012 caucus campaign, Paul is definitely one to watch.

Photo by Dave Davidson

0 thoughts on “Paul Could Surprise In Iowa

  1. Ron Paul appears to be the only candidate who understands the monetary system. The other tea party folk, Palin-Bachman et al, believe that our economic problems stem from over spending. This is not credible as an argument, but it might fool blue hair farm wives in the ethanol belt. Sound monetary policy is not wanted by establishment republican blue bloods, corporatist types or Obama-Bush-Clinton dynasty lovers. The single party called Republican-Democrat are worshipers of government. One wing of the party wants wealth redistribution to benefit single mothers and AARP members, and the other wing wants wealth redistribution for corporate industrial military complexes and private businesses, government tit suckers all.
    It’s the moral and Constitutional thing to do.


  2. Ron Paul has figured out that college students are going to be his strongest base of support. They know they are going to be stuck paying for endless military adventures and entitlement programs that are broke. They have come to the realization that their chance to enjoy the same standard of living as their parents will be next to impossible as long as the government continues to borrow 42 cents for every dollar of federal spending.


  3. He has great name recognition, and he has a message that is much more popular in 2011 than in 2007.

    To me, Ron Paul is the only person that has been consistently for limited government and individual freedoms. I get this feeling that Palin / Bachmann / etc are all for freedom…freedom to not be any different than them.

    He’s also very smart and would fare well in a debate with Obama (who is very intelligent and good in debate). I think we all know that Obama would mop the floor in a debate with Bachmann. And I say this as a person that mostly votes Republican.

    I think Ron Paul would win independent voters because he isn’t extreme on social issues, and he does well on his fiscal policy this go-around considering people are frustrated with government spending (well, at least for now).

    I’m not a pundit, so I can’t tell you if he will win or do well. But so far I like him more than any other potential candidate.


  4. In order for Ron Paul to do well in Iowa, he needs to get a decent in-state media person and not an ideologue. He also needs to get his supporters to quit shouting down Santorum at his appearances. Paul could be quite effective by saying that he has a plan to get the deficit under control and can get it accomplished by serving one term.


  5. Woodman
    I don’t think Ron Paul actually understands the monetary system, he is the only candidate that thinks about it.

    It’s the theoretical part which is why he resonates with college students. Most of them are without much real-world experience. In some significant number college students, the ones that are not drinking and partying, are more into figuring out how the world works and not yet “How do I work in this world”.


  6. @chris

    > It’s the theoretical part which is why he resonates with college students.

    Well, ya. It’s the “theoretical” part that resonated with Obama college supporters. And McCain college supporters, and Clinton college supporters, etc, etc.

    It’s “theoretical” why some people vote for Democrats and some vote for Republicans. We all have our own world views on how things should be done. When you boil it all down, we are generally all trying to accomplish the same things, we just believe it should be done in different ways.


  7. “He’s also very smart and would fare well in a debate with Obama (who is very intelligent and good in debate). I think we all know that Obama would mop the floor in a debate with Bachmann. And I say this as a person that mostly votes Republican.”
    99% of presidential debates have the questions distributed to the candidates before the debate begins. Thinking quickly on your feet really isn’t a requirement. A good writer helps.


  8. @Bob Loblaw
    No, Bob, you misunderstood. Congressman Paul in discussing monetary policy talks about the theory of monetary policy in a manner as the reasoning behind his proposed policy. No other candidate talks on an intellectual level with that heavy a dose of intellectual theory included in what he says. Most candidates just present the policy and assert it as the right thing to do, but without any background.


  9. “I think we all know that Obama would mop the floor in a debate with Bachmann”

    Do they allow teleprompters? Obama can’t speak two sentences without a teleprompter.

    The debate I would love to see is between Steve King and Obama.


  10. I did not understand money, or the monetary system until the mid 90s when I was introduced to Murray Rothbard. In high school, a public institution believe it or not, one of the business teachers encouraged me to read Hayek, so I was encouraged to explore free market thinking when I was relatively young. Ron Paul fully understands the monetary system, he certainly knows the criminal element that controls our central banks (International bank of settlements) and the moral hazard that a debt-monetary system presents to Americans. It’s an anti-christ, anti-American system, but then, I’m a forensic historian. Republicans are anti-free market generally. They love big government and their monopoly protection schemes almost as much as a white whore feminist loves abortion clinics and the slaughter of black children. Almost, I said. I would support any candidate who understands who runs our country and our monetary system. Ron Paul is the only one capable of identifying the problem and providing a solution that I’m aware of. I would welcome anyone knew. Ron Paul would too, he told me so.
    A lengthy education would begin here:
    Bible – Geneva Edition


  11. Also, I know it’s just an “exploratory committee” at this point, but how do you contact these guys to let them know you’re interested in helping? Or do you pretty much just have to wait until they form a legit campaign?


  12. @BryceC
    The three are members on the Iowa GOP State Central Committee and as such, their email addresses can be found on the Iowa GOP website. Paul’s organization, Campaign for Liberty, is another place where you can find their info.


  13. Also check out LibertyPAC, that’s where the most recent “momey bomb” was organized. Raised over $700M on President’s Day to get travel $ for the good Dr.


  14. How long as he been a member of Congress? He’s a monetary historian? He understands the Fed? Fine. How effective has he been all these years at sharing his knowledge and motivating his colleagues? He was one of four Rs who voted against the Ryan budget. He would cut defense significantly. A serious candidate will emerge who can beat Obama by articulating the Constitutionally conservative position. Perhaps that person will consult Rep. Paul on economic matters. Good. Knock yourself out, but ask yourself why establishment types would advance the idea that Rep. Paul “could surprise in Iowa.”


  15. Paul chose to pass on Schefler’s event, maybe because Schefler told him to go away last time he held an event. For that reason alone, Paul should get serious consideration. He is his own man and won’t bow down to kiss the ring of the self appointed king makers.


  16. Paul is sharp and does know his stuff. He makes compelling arguments… but tends to drone on in minute details that will have most of the electorate changing the channel. He comes across to me as a teacher’s personality first (perhaps why he jells well with collegians). That’s fine, but I think we need someone with proven executive leadership.


  17. The only “proven” leadership America needs is one who has been “proven” to say “No” to excess taxation and excess spending. That list is so short, it has but one name on it.


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