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High Spirits, And A Sense Of Mission In Senate District 22

High Spirits, And A Sense Of Mission In Senate District 22

Charles Schneider, West Des Moines City Council, Senate District 22, IowaTonight was a night for Central Iowa Republicans to bounce back from Tuesday’s less than exciting election results.  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.  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.

You can see my twitter comments here.  Kevin Hall at TheIowaRepublican.com live blogged here.

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.  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.  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.  The specific section of the Iowa Constitution that he was referring to is Article III, section 22:

Disqualification. 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.  I was expecting to have at least 3 ballots before having a winner declared.  All six candidates are highly qualified and are well respected in the community.  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.  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.  If Republicans are successful at winning this seat, it has the potential to create long-term momentum.

This will be a hard race.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the Democratic opponent, Desmond Adams, is a strong personality and tells a compelling story.  Look for Desmond to work this campaign from a moderate position.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As an aside, I met Charles Schneider while I was working in my garden one summer’s day in 2007.  He was walking the ward to introduce himself as a candidate.  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.  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.  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 Bill Petroski from The Des Moines Register.  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.  Everyone I talked to was very upbeat about the future of the Republican Party.

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 HawkeyeGOP.com.  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 HawkeyeGop.com

Iowa Caucus Results Available Tonight At TCR

Iowa Caucus Results Available Tonight At TCR

We will have results of tonight’s caucus available here at The Conservative Reader as soon as the information is available from the Republican Party of Iowa.  We will have a Google map setup showing the results in near-real time as results are tabulated starting at 6:00 PM.  Be sure to attend your caucus, then check in with TCR for caucus results tonight and analysis on Wednesday.


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 Central Committee Campaign Involvement Follow Up

RPI Central Committee Campaign Involvement Follow Up

This past weekend, RPI Co-chair Jim Kurtenbach told members of the Republican Party of Iowa Central Committee who are serving as leaders of Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul’s campaigns that they need to decide who they were going to represent at the Iowa Straw Poll in August: the Republican Party of Iowa or the candidates they were openly working for.

That may cause a bit of a quandary for the four, but they are evidently resolute in maintaining their positions with feet firmly planted in both roles.  But it makes sense that one would have to make this decision, since they really can’t act out one role at the event without seeming half hearted at the other.

While the Iowa Straw Poll is an important event for Iowa Republicans, for the candidates who are looking to come out in at least the top three spots in the poll, and for many across the country who see it as the first real test of the candidate field, it’s not the whole point in this issue, but is part of it.  The integrity and importance of that event can be called into question if people get the idea that the people running it are stacking the deck in favor of their candidate.

As can the Iowa Caucus itself.  Nothing can likely destroy the importance of our first-in-the-nation status as questions about the integrity of the process.

Last week, we discussed the situation of the four members of the Republican Party of Iowa Central Committee.  Recapping, out of these four members, one is currently serving on Michelle Bachmann’s campaign, and the other three are working on the Ron Paul campaign.  All of them are in some type of leadership position on their respective campaigns.

And none of them considers this a conflict of interest.

Evidently, some of them even consider it inappropriate for party leadership to sit on the sidelines during primary and caucus season.

At this past weekend’s meeting, the committee worked on plans for the Iowa Straw Poll.  There had been talk that the committee might address the question of the involvement of committee members on presidential campaigns prior to the caucus.  The meeting apparently ran long enough that the committee did not have time to properly address the question.

But before they wound up their meeting, one of the committee members (not one of the four) brought the issue up.  The group was not keen on extending the meeting since there was a physical walk-through of the event facility scheduled shortly after this.  Another member of the committee pressed the issue and the group agreed to hold another meeting on June 1st (a 10 day notification lead time is required) to discuss the matter by phone.

In talking with members of the committee, it is extremely important that Republicans contact the members of the committee that represent their district.  I’ve provided the names, districts and contact information for each of the committee members below so that you can provide input to your committee person.

To Identify Your District

Here’s Who To Contact

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Statewide Party Leaders >>>>
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(Email) Matt Strawn (Chairman)
(Email) Jim Kurtenbach (Co-chairman)
(Email) Kim Lehman (National Committeewoman)
(Email) Steve Scheffler (National Committeeman)
First District
If your Congressman is: Bruce Brayley
If you live in one of the following counties:
Butler, Bremer, Fayette, Clayton, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Delaware, Dubuque, Jones, Jackson, Clinton, Scott
(Email) Jeremiah Johnson (Dubuque)
(Email) John Ortega (Bettendorf )
(Email) Chelle Adkins (Cedar Falls)

Second District
If your Congressman is: Dave Loebsack
If you live in one of the following counties:
Linn, Johnson, Cedar, Muscatine, Washington, Louisa, Des Moines, Lee, Henry, Jefferson, Van Buren, Davis, Wapello, Appanoose, Wayne

(Email) David Chung (Ceder Rapids)
(Email) Emily Lofgren (Muscatine)
(Email) Trudy Caviness (Ottumwa)
Third District
If your Congressman is: Leonard Boswell
If you live in one of the following counties:
Grundy, Tama, Benton, Iowa, Poweshiek, Jasper, Polk, Marion, Mahaska, Keokuk, Lucas, Monroe
(Email) Gopal Krishna (West Des Moines)
(Email) David Fischer (Altoona) (On Paul’s Campaign)
(Email) Wes Enos (Des Moines) (On Bachmann’s Campaign)
Fourth District
If your Congressman is: Tom Latham
If you live in one of the following counties:
Emmet, Palo Alto, Kossuth, Winnebago, Hancock, Worth, Cerro Gordo, Mitchell, Floyd, Howard, Chickasaw, Winneshiek, Allamakee, Pocahontas, Humboldt, Wright, Franklin, Calhoun, Webster, Hamilton, Hardin, Greene, Boone, Story, Marshall, Dallas, Madison, Warren
(Email) A.J. Spiker (Ames) (On Paul’s Campaign)
(Email) Drew Ivers (Webster City) (On Paul’s Campaign)
(Email) Bill Schickel (Mason City)
Fifth District
If your Congressman is: Steve King
If you live in one of the following counties:
Lyon, Osceola, Dickenson, Sioux, O’Brien, Clay, Plymouth, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Woodbury, Ida, Sac, Monona, Crawford, Carroll, Harrison, Shelby, Audubon, Guthrie, Pottawattamie, Cass, Adair, Mills, Montgomery, Adams, Union, Clarke, Fremont, Page, Taylor, Ringgold, Decatur
(Email) Tim Moran (Council Bluffs)
(Email) Craig Williams (Manning)
(Email) Monte Shaw (Panora)
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