As the campaign manager for John Landon throughout the primary, I made a concscious decision to not write any opinion, analysis, or news pieces regarding this race on this site.Â With the conclusion of the primary coming at a special convention held last night at the Kirkendall library in Ankeny, this moratorium has now ended.
Per Iowa law, since none of the six Republicans on the ballot garnered 35% on June 5th the results were deemed “inconclusive” and this meeting of Ankeny area central committee members was called to decide the winner.Â Four of the six candidates who appeared on the primary ballot were nominated for consideration by the 21 members of the central committee who were in attendence.Â Â Â What could have become a long and drawn out affair actually ended rather quickly, asÂ the process took only two ballots to yield a decision.
Each of the four were given four minutes apiece to address the committee, which was followed by a secret ballot.Â All made their case by giving very good speeches, each of which centered around a very Conservative message.Â The first ballot of voting resulted in 10 votes for Landon, 10 votes for Matt DeVries, and 1 vote for Jim Robidoux.Â On the second ballot, Landon won by a count of 12-9 over DeVries.
After having gone through thisÂ campaign for several months now, I can say with certainty that all six candidates were worthy and qualified to represent HD 37, and I am left with a deep respect for all.Â Jim Robidoux (who finished with the most votes on primary night), Matt DeVries (who finshed in second), and Jeff Wright (who placed 4th on June 5th) areÂ all assets to the Republican Party.Â I have little doubtÂ thatÂ eachÂ will continue to be politically involved in Ankeny and will be heard from again on future election nights–which is a good thing for the Republican Party in Iowa.
Below is the full text of the press release issued by John Landon at the conclusion of last nights convention:
Every candidate in this race, including myself, made the decision to run for this seat in the belief that they were best qualified to represent and serve the people of our community.Â I was prepared to accept any decision the Central Committee made, and I am humbled by the faith and support that they have shown for me tonight.
For years I have been working to build and strengthen the Republican Party in this district, and I am greatly looking forward to continuing to advance our core principals of less taxes and more freedom in the State House next session.Â Though the sheer number of great candidates in this race led to a long and drawn out process, now that it is over I want the people of House District 37 to know that I am a rock solid, Conservative Republican who is energized and ready to fight for their interests in the legislature.
There is much work to be done, and my life experiences and long business career will allow me to start this work in earnest on day one.Â The Republican Party will win this seat in November and I look forward to casting the votes necessary to strengthen our state and create an environment that will allow all Iowans to flourish.
Last night’s Polk County Central Committee meeting was a harbinger forÂ both good and bad things to come for the future of Republicans in Polk County.
Among the several speakers to address the committee were Polk County Sheriff candidate Dan Charleston and Senator Rick BertrandÂ (pictured at right).Â Charleston has been very active in his attempt to unseat his boss Bill McCarthy, who has once again doubled down on his support for spreading controversial traffic cameras throughout Iowa.Â His bid to remove McCarthy will not be easy, however, this is an outcome that becomes more possible with McCarthy supporting a hot-button policy that the majority of Iowans reject.Â While Conservatives throughout Polk County will be rightly focused on state and Congressional seats in the coming months, it would be a mistake to ignore this race for sheriff.Â It can be easily argued that the performance and priorities of law enforcement has an equal impact on citizens at the County level as legislative seats.Â All Conservatives who are unaware of this race would be well advised to visit Dan Charleston’s website, were he lays out his positions on several issues (including traffic cameras and illegal immigration).Â It is safe to say he would bring a far different mindset to the job–and there is much to like.
While Senator Rick Bertrand was not on the agenda to speak, all in attendance were glad he made the trip.Â Speaking for nearlyÂ 20 minutes, he got fired up covering topics ranging from his background, his victory in a legal slander case against Iowa Democrats, and the future agenda of Senate Republicans.
Beyond being a gifted and enthusiastic speaker, the real positive to take away from his presence in the Iowa Senate is his potential to bridge the divides that have recently been created by the emergence of a more Libertarian brand of Republican in the party.Â I have asked him personally about the prospects of real legislative results from the Conservative movement in the Iowa Legislature–and I assure you he has a plan and will be front and center in achieving it.Â In my view, he is one of a handful of current Republican legislators who can effortlessly bridge the gap between the old and new guards in the Republican Party.Â In the coming months The Conservative Reader:Iowa will be laying out exactly what this 7 issue action plan is, and will be looking at each in detail.
Having been in attendance at the last two Central Committee meetings, there is little doubt left that the drama surrounding last month’s meeting is not going away.Â The divide between Chairman McLaughlin (along withÂ other members ofÂ the leadership), and co-chair Dave Funk isÂ quickly approaching critical mass.Â Several times during the meeting there was open bickering and contention between the two.Â This was taking place not in the side or back during down time, butÂ actually during the meeting and at the front of the room.
As of this time I am not taking sides.Â FarÂ more important than taking sides is finding some way for this strained situation to be resolved.Â Besides risking several political objects that are certainly within reach, this feud is simply embarrassing for all of the new folks who have been energized during the caucus and have made the time consuming decision to get involved.Â At this rate the attendance of these meetings will swell only on the grounds of voyeurism, as people will start coming to view a live version of the Jerry Springer Show.Â Finding a way to make these meetings a little less bland would be a more than worthy endeavor, however, this is not exactly what I had in mind.
I will be in attendance at the next meeting, if it is plagued by these same issues than the report you read here following it will be of a far different tone.Â At that point critical mass will have unquestionably been reached and a movement to action will have to be initiated.Â With so much crucial work to be done in the coming months, continuing in this manner is simply not an option.
What had promised to be an explosive evening at the Polk County central committee meeting Tuesday night never really materialized.
Throughout the past two days buzz hadÂ been growing that an organized effort to unseat McLaughlin as Chairman would take place, and rumors were flying that the person spearheading this undertaking was Rep. Kim Pearson (R-Pleasant Hill).Â What is clear following the meeting is that she was never involved at any level, andÂ that the leader of the group aiming to replace the Chairman was in fact precinct 85 resident Craig Bergman.
TheÂ only fireworks transpired at the beginning of the meeting when a motion was made to suspend the rules and normal proceedings of the meeting and instead have a vote on removing the Chairman.Â Â What played out was that, by a nearÂ three to one margin (91-39), the central committee voted to proceed with the meeting’s business as usual and have the showdownÂ afterward.Â Presumably based on the large majority who stood in support of putting off the vote, the contingent on hand to oppose the Chairman realized that they did not have the numbersÂ and chose toÂ stand down on this night.
Perhaps the most memorable and foretelling moment of the night came when Chairman McLaughlin, on mic and standing at the podium, was explaining to aÂ confused group of members that he was not avoiding a vote on his fate.Â He summed it up by saying,Â “if anyone wants to try to ‘send me to the showers’ they are welcome to do that”,Â which he followed aÂ few seconds laterÂ with,Â “That said, I don’t intend to go to the showers I intend to finish my job.”
Clearly Kevin McLaughlin is notÂ backing awayÂ anytime soon, and neitherÂ is the sizable sect passionate that his performance as Chairman has not been up to par.Â Based on the numbers it is hard to see how this group, in its current size and form, will be able to successfully remove the leadership in the middleÂ of their term.Â It is fair to note, however, that while this effort was denied tonight, there has been widespread discontent and rumblings regarding what has beenÂ perceived as several organizational shortcomings.
My sense moving forward is that McLaughlin and his team will survive any future attempts to remove him.Â The final decider here will ultimately be what it always is–results.Â If their performance in November demonstrates success in electing Republicans, particularly Tom Latham, then their style and methods will be vindicated and they will be lauded.Â Should they notÂ meet expectations, and should theyÂ fail to deliver a number of victories similar to their very successful predecessors–they will be quickly voted out in January.
Conservatives are often fond of saying that results, not good intentions, are what matters.Â What we have here is a perfect embodiment of this…as it should be.