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New GOP Chair Could Be Elected As Soon As Saturday

New GOP Chair Could Be Elected As Soon As Saturday

In hopes of making a seamless transition in leadership, the odds of using an already scheduled meeting of the State Central Committee to choose a new leader is becoming increasingly likely.

Fellow blogger, and State Central Committee member, David Chung is all over the story.  Please check out the link below that will take you to his site  I have been a reader of his for a while now–besides being a reasoned voice from inside the Party, he has shown absolute fairness in dealing with all issues.

Not only does he touch on the rules governing the process, he gives a brief rundown of the three known candidates to replace Matt Strawn, who recentley stepped down as Chairman of the Party.

Click here for David Chung’s story at

RPI Update: Progress In Accountability

RPI Update: Progress In Accountability

An update on our friends in the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee.  You may recall that we had addressed the issue of some members of the committee actively working on campaigns.  Wednesday evening the Central Committee met and considered the issue (after deferring it due to lack of time at their last regular meeting).

There was an extensive discussion on the topic, initiated by John Ortega, that generally included comments to effect that committee members had heard from numerous constituents in their districts expressing concern about committee member involvement on campaigns.  Mr. Ortega read a rather severe message that he had received that pressed for removal or at least reprimand against the members who were being paid to work on campaigns.

A motion was made by Jeremiah Johnson and amended by David Chung, which read as follows:

Those State Central Committee members with paid staff or consultant positions on campaigns in contested primaries or caucuses are required to disclose those relationships to the State Central Committee.

The motion was passed 10-4 with one abstention.

Although it does not go as far as I and other would like, it does establish a sense of accountability within the board membership, and clarifies that contested primaries and caucuses are specific areas of concern.  I think that is an essential message for people to hear even if the overall affect of the measure more or less a non-event.

So, quick breakdown.

One of the “no” votes was cast by a committee member who has been concerned about this issue.  That member voted against the measure simply because the measure did not go far enough.

The abstention was from Wes Enos.  Wes mentioned during discussion of the topic that he saw this as a serious concern and that he plans, while serving on Michelle Bachmann’s campaign, to abstain from any votes that impact the Caucus.  I applaud Wes for taking a strong step in acknowledging the fact of the appearance of a conflict of interest, and acting in a way that helps mitigate the issue.  That demonstrates responsibility and character.

The other three “no” votes came from the other three committee members who are working on a campaign.  I find it odd that they would take a combative position on such a non-intrusive measure.  Voting for the measure would have cost them nothing and would have given them a positive appearance.  Instead, the message it sends is that they do not see themselves as accountable to the Committee, and the impression it leaves with me is sour… it increases the appearance that their participation on the committee is geared more to their own personal agenda than it is for the sake of the party as a whole.  If that’s true, it is very disappointing.

It is worth acknowledging that several members of the committee would have probably liked to see something more drastic occur.  An amendment to the  motion offered by Bill Schickel, to require that committee members abstain from operation votes, failed.  All of the members were very considerate of each other, emphasizing the issue as one of appearance and not an actual question of integrity, and in seeking a sensible solution worked to a compromise that probably accomplished as much as could be reasonably done at this juncture.

Specific constraints against the voting rights of the members would have likely been untenable.  Such a measure, or anything more substantive, would probably need to be considered at the State Convention next year as a bylaw change.  Based on follow up conversations with committee members, it is very likely that such a measure may be presented to the convention in some manner.

RPI Update: Progress In Accountability

Party Politics and Leadership Restraint

Here in Polk County we have a special election coming up to replace State Senator Larry Noble (R-35), who has been appointed to be the new commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.  The special election will be held on January 18th, and Republicans will be holding a nominating convention tonight to select a candidate.  Democrats will meet to select their candidate on January 3rd.

A few members of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee (SCC) decided to come out in support of one candidate.  That story, and some opinion, is well covered by Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican.  Also, highlights of all five of the announced candidates for tonight’s convention are found here.

Some of the comments left at The Iowa Republican were from people that don’t see why the public support of a candidate by members of the SCC is a concern.

The answer is hardly black and white on its face.  I have myself worked to remain neutral during the 2010 primary while serving on Polk County’s GOP leadership team (and I am confident that those county leaders are remaining neutral as they did earlier this year) because it seemed most consistent with my own approach to fairness.

I see two principles of leadership at play here:

  1. Leaders should lead, which often means providing guidance to those who are being lead when necessary.  For example, when working through or executing a plan, a leader should be able to articulate what needs to be accomplished, and perhaps how.
  2. In party politics (as in public elections), leaders should allow those who hold the power to elect (in this case, the convention delegates) and those who are competing with each other for a position to do so in a fair and unfettered manner.

Overt support of a candidate by any members of the SCC is not, on its face, in contradiction with the second principle. However, there are some people who will be swayed by the endorsement and will vote without conducting their own due diligence.  This may be a fact of life, but I like to encourage people to do some research on their own when possible.

The endorsement may also give the appearance of favoritism and a sense that perhaps those leaders do not trust the delegates to make a sound decision (or the “right” decision) on their own.  If nothing else, it can “feel” fettered.

Of greatest concern to me is the impact that leadership endorsements have on other candidates, both those running against the endorsee, and those who may want to run in the future.  It is unnecessarily demoralizing to a candidate who, if they win the nomination, may not believe the party fully supports their candidacy.  And those who may consider running in the future could easily believe that they are doomed if they are not hand-picked by party leadership.  It should be clear how these results can impact the success of the party, which needs qualified candidates who are willing to step up and work hard to win.  Putting up internal barriers, whether perceived or real, will limit the party’s opportunities and long-term success in recruiting qualified candidates.

I began by identifying two principles, and have not addressed the first one.  Does the endorsement provide the kind of guidance that, as members of the SCC, is needed by the delegates?  I submit that it does not (I do not have contra-argument, simply no supporting argument comes to mind), and as such it seems the better side of integrity to avoid the appearance of impropriety and act in a way that will help the party in the long run (candidate development) by remaining neutral while the delegates work their way through this decision.

These SCC members have already hurt themselves and the party, perhaps not grossly, by endorsing a single candidate.  They should take some time and think about this before acting in a similar fashion in the future.  They should keep in mind that it’s not about them or their preferred candidate, it’s about the party as a whole.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’d like to acknowledge an example of someone who took the opposite approach.  My friend David Chung, who runs, was on the SCC when he decided to support Christian Fong for Governor.  He resigned from the SCC in order to ensure he did not create a conflict of interest, and because he felt it was important to provide public support for Christian.  David’s enthusiasm and the opportunities he had to create visibility for Christian, made this a good decision.  His integrity and care for the party make him a valuable asset to Republicans, and I’m glad that after Christian’s campaign ended he was able to be re-elected to the SCC this year.

Branstad Must Be In Now

Branstad Must Be In Now


Note: Art Smith is Communications Director for the Polk County Republican Party.  His views as expressed here are not necessarily those of the Polk County Republican Party.

Just an observation but if the Executive Director of the Republican Party of Iowa (RPI)leaves this key position to work on the Branstad campaign, is that not sufficient reason to confirm that Branstad is going to run?   Well, Jeff Boeyink did.  RPI has benefited greatly from Jeff’s work, and will certainly be a challenged in finding a comparable replacement.  Matt Strawn had this to say today:

“I hope all Iowa Republicans join me in thanking Jeff for a job well done. The Iowa GOP is better off because of his service and tireless advocacy for principled, conservative government. I’m personally grateful for his wisdom and guidance and wish him well.”

This is a major coup for the Branstad campaign, due to Boeyink’s strong skills, relationships, experience, and the level of credibility he adds to the campaign.

From Terry Branstad’s campaign comes this statement:

Richard Schwarm today announced the hiring of Jeffrey Boeyink to lead the Terry Branstad 2010 Committee as it continues to explore a possible gubernatorial run by former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

Schwarm said, “This is the next natural step in our exploratory process as we move from a volunteer effort to the acquisition of professional staff and financial resources to take Terry Branstad 2010 to the next level of effectiveness.”

Boeyink has served as Executive Director of the Republican Party of Iowa (RPI) since last February and resigned yesterday to accept this new position. Prior to joining RPI, Boeyink served as President of Iowans for Tax Relief where he worked for more than two decades.

Schwarm also noted, “This appointment does not signal any change in Terry Branstad’s status as a potential gubernatorial candidate. He continues in his role at Des Moines University and will make his plans known at a future date.”

Others commenting today included Polk County GOP Co-Chair Will Rogers:

“Jeff has a tremendous amount of experience and will bring a level of talent to the race that is unparalleled by any of the other campaigns including Culver’s.”

The story broke this morning at The Iowa Republican web site (although I first found out about it from David Chung’s Hawkeye GOP site via Facebook).  As David stated, finding a new Exective Director is going to be job one for Matt Strawn.

For all of the other candidates for Governor, I think the time has come to acknowledge that Branstad is in the race, despite Schwarm’s comments about the campaign being “exploratory”.  For some, that might mean cutting off the campaign and for others it means being more direct in speaking about Branstad’s record and ability to beat Culver.  Either way, the elephant in the room should be visible now.

We will be talking about this today on The Bean Walker Live! internet radio show during the first hour.  Email me or chat me your comments today!

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