The RPI Revolution?

In every election or campaign, there are events and other occurrences that can one can look back to and realize the significance of what transpired. For example, the stock market crash on September 16, 2008 was not only a significant day in our nation’s history, but it also had an enormous effect on the elections that followed in November. Usually it takes time for people to realize the significance of what actually occurred.

While it’s not a day that will ever show up in a history book, Saturday, June 30, 2007, is was important day in the history of the Iowa Caucuses. On that day, six presidential candidates participated in a candidate forum that was put on by Iowans for Tax Relief and the Iowa Christian Alliance. The event was a success for both organizations, but the candidate who gained the most politically from the event was the one both organizations refused to invite – Dr. Ron Paul.

June 30, 2007 was the first day that Iowans got a taste of the “Ron Paul Revolution.” His loyal legion of supporters made life difficult for the sponsoring organizations and the Republican Party of Iowa in the days leading up to the forum. They jammed phone lines, sent email, and protested in support of the snubbed candidate. The Paul campaign also rented out the room next to where the candidate forum was being held, and they filled it with more people than ITR/ICA had their event.

The who’s who of Republican operatives, candidates, activists, and central committee members attended the ITR/ICA forum, yet hardly any of them ventured next door to Ron Paul’s event. I still can remember the reaction I received from some of the organizers when I attended the Paul event and told them that I was with the Republican Party of Iowa. The event was big success for the Paul campaign, and it allowed me to build some relationships with members of the Paul campaign.

If you had mentioned Ron Paul’s name at a Republican state central committee meeting in 2007, the response you would receive in return would have not been flattering. Paul did participate in the Straw Poll, attended the Reagan Dinner, and met the criteria of the Fox News Debate that never came to fruition. Still, party insiders never embraced or really understood Paul’s campaign.

The make-up of the Republican State Central Committee changed dramatically at the last district conventions that were held on April 29th and May 1st. Of the 15 district representatives, only five were re-elected. Of the ten new faces, four of them are associated with the Campaign for Liberty, a group who shares many supporters with Ron Paul.

The block of four votes makes for an immensely powerful coalition inside the Iowa GOP. To put that in perspective, it takes nine votes to elect someone as chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. In addition to electing party leadership, the central committee is also heavily involved in organization of the Iowa Straw Poll and the caucuses.

Two of the four Campaign for Liberty members who were elected to the SCC are longtime Republican activists. Drew Ivers, who served as Ron Paul’s campaign manager for the caucuses, returns to the SCC after a 24-year hiatus. Ivers told, “In 1984 and 1986, the Iowa Republican Party was in the minority. It has always been my goal to make it a majority party.”

Ivers resigned his position on the SCC when he went to work for Pat Robertson in 1997. “I’ve always been as far right in the party as you can be without leaving it. I always joke that I can feel the tent flapping against my leg,” Ivers added.

Joining Ivers is longtime Polk County activist David Fischer, Ames realtor and Story County GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker, and Jeremiah Johnson from the 1st District. Johnson’s brother, Will, is a candidate for Congress in the 1st District.

Since the 2008 caucuses, no potential presidential candidate has visited Iowa more than Ron Paul. With a friendlier SCC, a tailor made political environment, and a wealth of knowledge from his previous run, Ron Paul could be a force to be reckoned with in the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

Congressman Paul returns to Iowa this weekend to headline the Campaign for Liberty’s regional conference. The event will be held at the Embassy Suites in Des Moines on May 14 to 16. The conference will focus on the future of conservatism in America. For more information click here.