Tonight was a night for Central Iowa Republicans to bounce back from Tuesday’s less than exciting election results. Â Due to the passing of Pat Ward (whose loss was felt and reflected on tonight several times), Republicans needed to nominate a new candidate to run against Desmond Adams on December 11.
The special convention called to make the nomination select attorney and West Des Moines City Councilman Charles Schneider.
Six people ran. Â The other five were Clive Mayor Scott Cirksena, Republican Activist Connie Schmett, Valley High School History Teacher Greg Hanson, Pat’s husband John who is an attorney, and former Waukee City Councilman Isaiah McGee.
The convention was a bit of a challenge from a vote counting standpoint because voting in these conventions is, according to state law, done proportionally based on the number of Republicans that voted in the last general election, which for this seat was in 2008. Â Redistricting after the 2010 census created a situation where determining how those votes fell into the existing precincts would be impossible, so each precinct got a voting weight of 1. However, since each precinct had different numbers of delegates, one with 7 apparently, each delegate got a portion of the 1 vote for their precinct. Â So the numbers in the first ballot had fractions, and the second had decimal points.
There was only one motion brought from the floor, which was a request before the balloting to disqualify both Schneider and Ward because (as I grasped the delegate’s comments) as lawyers they are beholden to the Iowa Supreme Court. Â The specific section of the Iowa Constitution that he was referring to is Article III, section 22:
Disqualification.Â Section 22. No person holding any lucrative office under the United States, or this State, or any other power, shall be eligible to hold a seat in the General Assembly: but offices in the militia, to which there is attached no annual salary, or the office of justice of the peace, or postmaster whose compensation does not exceed one hundred dollars per annum, or notary public, shall not be deemed lucrative.
It was clearly a stretch understanding of the text, and the chairman quickly ruled the motion out of order.
Each ballot took about 25 minutes between voting and counting. Â I was expecting to have at least 3 ballots before having a winner declared. Â All six candidates are highly qualified and are well respected in the community. Â Reaching a decision in two ballots was both a surprise and a relief … wrapping up by 9:00 PM meant I could get home at a decent hour!
The most encouraging part of the evening was listening to everyone with a positive attitude about moving on from Tuesday’s losses. Â Although winning Senate District 22 will not swing the balance of power to Republicans in the Iowa Senate, it does move the party one step in the direction of building a majority in 2014. Â If Republicans are successful at winning this seat, it has the potential to create long-term momentum.
This will be a hard race. Â As I mentioned in a previous post, the Democratic opponent, Desmond Adams, is a strong personality and tells a compelling story. Â Look for Desmond to work this campaign from a moderate position.
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As an aside, I met Charles Schneider while I was working in my garden one summer’s day in 2007. Â He was walking the ward to introduce himself as a candidate. Â He impressed me that day, and I’ve spoken with him a number of times since and have sought his help on a few city related issues. Â He’s always had time for me, always friendly and does everything he can to ensure his constituents are getting the level of attention they need. Â He has a lot of people’s respect in West Des Moines, and I hope he does well in the special election on December 11.
It was good to see and chat with Kevin Hall from TheIowaRepublican.com, Gary Barrett from WHO Radio, and BillÂ Petroski from The Des Moines Register. Â Bill will be covering the Iowa Senate this coming session.
I also got to spend some time with former Polk County Republican Party Chairmen John Bloom and Ted Sporer, David Fischer from the Campaign for Liberty, my Statehouse Representative Chris Hagenow, State Senator Jack Whitver, Republican Activist Kathy Ford, Scott Cirksena’s wife Julie and his mother (I’m embarrassed that I’ve forgotten her name), and Ryan Keller who is the Polk County Republican Party Executive Director. Â Everyone I talked to was very upbeat about the future of the Republican Party.