In Iowa Politics tonight, Will Rogers and Dave Edwards faced off in the biennial Polk County Republican Party Central Committee Officer Elections. Â Will Rogers won the election 93 to 45.
Polk County is home to about 20% of Iowa voters.
Both candidates gave strong speeches and answers to questions from the committee. Â With 139 in attendance, the group showed a great deal of support for both candidates, and asked some great questions.
The other three positions had only one candidate each and were elected by acclamation:
Co-chair: Chad Brown
Secretary: Joe Heuertz
Treasurer: Cheryl Weisheit
Congratulations to each of the candidates… these are challenging jobs, and not considered lightly.
Despite predictions of a contentious meeting, this was a very calm and unified time with Republicans. Â Great work by all!
Late last week we brought you a message from Polk County Chair candidate Will Rogers.Â Today we bring you a word from the other candidate in the race, Dave Edwards.Â One of these two men will be declared leader of the Polk County GOP Tuesday evening.
Last year Mr. Edwards ran for the Iowa Senate in District 16 and, though he lost, showed a great deal of courage in running in the first place.Â The voter registration numbers for this districtÂ on the day of the voteÂ were: D-16,353; R-7,591; NP-10,410…enoughÂ said. Â Though running against tremendous odds, Edwards put in a lot of work and was unafraid to talkÂ about the non-PC issues negatively impacting his district.Â If he should prevail Tuesday he will have a first-hand perspective on just howÂ steep a climb some of the districts in the countyÂ have become.
Though thereÂ is a great deal of contrast between these two candidates both in style and background, I amÂ convinced that either will bringÂ a unique set of helpful traits to the Party.
Below is the full transcript of Mr. Edwards’ letter to The Conservative Reader: Iowa.
To begin with, I want to thank the readers of your publication for their support of my Senate campaign in last yearâ€™s election.Â We were blessed with a fantastic outpouring of volunteersÂ – from parades, to envelope stuffing, to door knocking.Â It was a lot of hard work, but a very rewarding experience.Â Volunteers like you are what it is going to take to reclaim our state and our country and we need to get fired up now to win that battle and help the Republican Party to grow and be the messenger for prosperity and freedom that our nation so sorely needs right now.
I am running for Polk County Republican Party Chairman because I want to stand beside you in that fight to beat back the liberals here in our county.
I have served my community in various ways over the years.Â In the past, Iâ€™ve served as a member of Des Moinesâ€™ Housing Appeals Board as well as several years as a board member for the Valley High Manor Neighborhood Association.Â Currently, I am a proud member of the Carlisle VFW Post 2099, and serve in the Color Guard there, helping to provide flag and rifle ceremony presence at funerals for those who have served in the military.Â I have put in many hours as a softball coach for various teams for my seven children for the last twenty years.Â Also, my wife of 27 years, Teressa, and I, host a weekly family Bible fellowship which is held in our home.
Last March, I threw my hat into the ring as a Republican candidate for Iowa Senate District 16, running against a 16-year Democratic incumbent.Â As a candidate for the Iowa Senate, I walked hundreds of miles and spent countless hours talking to voters in my district. I met a tremendous number of Republicans and Independents who agreed with us in principle, but did not feel actively engaged with our efforts.
I believe that there is an opportunity right now to bring these voters into the Polk County Republican Party by having leadership in the party that they can relate to and showing them the tremendous success we can have as a party by promoting our principles of limited government and personal responsibility.
I envision a Polk County Republican Party that takes the next step here to grow and strengthen itself even more. With Iowaâ€™s first in the nation status, I believe eyes across the country are directed at this state. I believe that with the right chairman and the right direction, Polk County can be seen as an example not just in Iowa, but across the country. We are well poised to bring Polk County to a higher level with the right leadership and vision. I have some specific goals for fundraising and voter contact/registration that I would like to achieve as Chairman, but I believe the most important part of my job will be to energize our base and build grassroots enthusiasm and activism to lead to a Republican victory in 2014 and beyond.
I am running for chairman of the Polk County Republican Party because right now this party is at a crossroads. Right now, there is a very real disconnect among the leadership and the members of the Republican Party in Polk County. This disconnect is pretty obvious from the Central Committee meetings, on down to the lack of voter enthusiasm I saw while on the campaign trail.
This county needs a leader that can work with everyone in the party. I believe I am that leader. I believe my experience on the campaign trail is proof of my commitment to the Republican party and of my strong work ethic. My campaign generated excitement across a broad spectrum of voters. I believe that was because I was a candidate people could relate to.Â I mentioned earlier all of those unengaged Republican voters that I met while on the campaign trail. I believe this is a prime time to draw those voters into active involvement in the party by giving them party leadership they can trust and relate to.Â I believe that my experience gives me tremendous knowledge about energizing grassroots activists and continuing to keep enthusiasm there.
In the end, all of our efforts will be measured out on election day.Â Having run my own campaign I know first-hand what local candidates need in order to be successful. And the bottom line comes down to grass-roots organizing.Â Personal contact during a campaign is the single most effective method of turning out voters.Â We need to re-vamp our efforts at organizing our House Districts down to the precinct levels. We need to continually refresh and update data and volunteers so that candidates have an instant and built-in network to hit the campaign trail running.Â And we need to host training to enable volunteers and candidates to maximize their efforts.
It is said that a house divided will not stand.Â I am asking for a chance to pull the people of this party together and make the Polk County Republican Party better than it has ever been.Â With your support, I look forward to advancing our conservative principles here in Polk County, and helping turn Iowa back to a red state once again.Â Please make sure you are there for this important vote on Tuesday, February 26, 7:00pm at the Holiday Inn, Mercy Campus at 1050 – 6th Avenue in Des Moines.
Four days from now the Polk County Central Committee will gather to elect a successor to Kevin McLaughlin and Dave Funk.Â While several people expressed possible interest in running for Chair, it is my understanding that the only two people openly vying for the post at this point are Will Rogers and Dave Edwards.
For the politically active in Polk County who don’t yet know Mr. Rogers and his background, below is a the full transcript of a message he sent The Conservative Reader: Iowa regarding his candidacy.Â It is followed by the personal section of his bio.Â The list of candidates and campaigns he has worked on or led over the last few decades is extensive to say the least, andÂ there is noÂ doubt he has the background to attack the challenge of winning elections.Â Â Among the notable namesÂ of Polk County Republican political veterans who are officially endorsing Mr. Rogers are Brad Zaun, John Bloom, Greg Ganske, E.J Giovannetti, and Darrell Kearney.
Dear Conservative Reader,
I appreciate the opportunity to share with your readers why I am running for the chairmanship of the Polk County Republican Party and what I hope to accomplish once I am elected.
While there are many important objectives that we need to accomplish as a political organization, I believe the two essential missions of the county party should be helping elect republicans to office and advancing the county party platform. And I am running for county party chairman because I believe that now, more than ever, that our party must win and get our county, state, and country moving in the right direction.
I personally know thousands of Republicans in Polk County and around the state of Iowa, but I realize there are likely to be thousands of your readers that donâ€™t know much about me and the level of activism that I have had.Â So before I go any further, I would like to share some background on how I have been involved as a Republican.
Over the past twenty years I have worked and volunteered for several Republican candidates and elected officials.Â In 2003, I served as Executive Director of the Polk County Republicans and served as the co-chairman of the Polk County Republican Party from 2008 through 2010.Â I have been committed to helping elect Republicans from the presidency to city hall.Â But that is just the highlights of my resume. It still doesnâ€™t tell you who I am.
Who I am is a republican activist that believes in God, country, freedom, and conservative principles.Â Who I am is someone that believes you must relentlessly pursue perfection, knowing very well that you will never achieve it.Â But by relentlessly pursuing perfection, we will fall short and achieve greatness.
Who I am is someone that believes our country has been the greatest source of social and economic freedom in the world and that it is our duty to ensure it continues to be that way for future generations.Â And if I am elected chair, my first priority will be to unite the Republican Party by working on our shared beliefs, instead of squabbling over our differences.
As chairman, I will focus on building a strong grassroots organization committed to the core principals of the Republican Party and dedicated to achieving victory. Combined with the solid financial resources, and both traditional and modern communications tools, we can help deliver majorities in the Unites States and Iowa Senates and help re-elect our incumbent Republicans.
I need your support for the chairmanâ€™s election taking place on Tuesday, February 26, at 7:00 p.m. at the Downtown Holiday Inn.Â But I am also going to need your support after the chairmanâ€™s election.Â I am going to need your help in making a difference by door knocking on your street, making phone calls, lit dropping, putting up yard signs, and by make a financial commitment to the county party.
And on Tuesday, November 4th, of 2014, after all the phone calls have been made, after all the doors have been knocked, after all the absentee ballots have been counted, a solemn voice will come on the television and say that â€œIowa has elected a Republican U.S. Senator.â€Â And while your neighbor is home asleep in bed, you will be downtown at a victory party that no one will ever forget.
Thank you for your past and continued support of the Polk County Republicans and I look forward to working with you over the next two years as your chairman.
God Bless, Will Rogers
Will Rogers can be reached by call 515-669-1648 or by email at:Â [email protected]
Will Rogers Bio
I was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. After graduating high school, I served in the U.S. Army as an M-1 Tank Crewman and served in combat operations as a part of Desert Shield-Desert Storm. After my enlistment, I returned to Des Moines to pursue an education at Drake University where I majored in Political Science and Rhetoric.
While at Drake University, I worked as field staff for Dr. Greg Ganskeâ€™s campaign for Congress in 1994. After the election I returned to finish my degree at Drake. After operating a small business for five years, I returned to politics to assist Congressman Greg Ganskeâ€™s campaign for Senate in 2002.
In 2003, I was named the first full-time Executive Director for the Polk County Republican Party and was instrumental in rebuilding the county party after the failed elections of 2002. In 2004, I served as Campaign Manager for Congressman Tom Lathamâ€™s re-election.
From October of â€™05 through May â€™07, I worked for the Iowa Soybean Association as a Producer Services Coordinator and was instrumental in promoting Iowaâ€™s renewable fuels industry.
I currently serve as the Director of Government Affairs for the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association and work closely with several members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, and state/local government officials.
For over 20 years, I have worked for and volunteered with several local, state, and national political campaigns including:
George W. Bush for PresidentÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Kim Schmett for U.S. House of Representatives
Newt Gingrich for PresidentÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Dave Vaudt for State Auditor
Phil Gramm for PresidentÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Bill Northey for Secretary of Agriculture
Steve Forbes for PresidentÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Brad Zaun for Iowa Senate
Mitt Romney for PresidentÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Pat Ward for Iowa Senate
Charles Grassley for U.S. SenateÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Charles Schneider for Iowa Senate
Greg Ganske for U.S. SenateÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Dan Kennedy for Iowa House
Deb Fischer for U.S. SenateÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Kim Pearson for Iowa House
Greg Ganske for U.S. HouseÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Darlene Blake for Iowa House
Tom Latham for U.S. HouseÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Nick Van Patten for Iowa House
Steve King for U.S. HouseÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â E.J. Giovannetti for Polk County Supervisor
Brad Zaun for U.S. HouseÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Halley Griess for Des Moines City Council
In addition, I served as the Co-Chair of the Polk County Republican Party from 2008 to 2010.
I have been married to Hannah (Holl) Rogers of Minden, Nebraska since 1998 and we have one daughter, Ariella, who was born in September 2009.
Matt Strawn, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, will be out door-knocking and encouraging folks to get out and vote in Altoona along with Kim Pearson who is running for the Iowa House in District 42.Â
“Every local race matters in this election,” Strawn said. “Changing Chet Culver isn’t enough. We need to change leadership in the Iowa legislature and return principled, conservative government to the people of Iowa. We need to elect people like Kim Pearson.”
It’s awesome that Matt is getting out and helping candidates like Kim.Â Kim is a great example of a new group of candidates that have just had enough with “business as usual” politics and want to get state government back to doing the work it is intended to do.Â More information about Kim can be found at her web site by clicking here.
Other party leaders have alsoÂ been getting out and doing work along side of the volunteers.Â John Bloom and Will Rogers (Polk County GOP Chair and Co-chair) have both put in scores of hours making phone calls, deliverying yard signs, attending and hosting fund raising events, and knocking on doors.Â These two leaders have put as much time as possible into this campaign and the impact is impressive!
But most importantly, it’s encouraging to see the level of work being done by volunteers and interest in general in this year’s mid-term elections.Â The work being done by volunteers isÂ great.Â We are seeing a lot of yard signs and bumper stickers… I just put up my first ever barn sign on a friend’s property.Â Granted, I’m known in the neighborhood as the “Burma Shave Guy” because I have so many signs on my lawn.Â But everyone knows who to come to for signs of their own as well.
I’ve also had a lot of great personal interaction at work, church, in the grocery store, on the street… it’s pretty amazing to see how interested people are in what is happening in our government!
Signs are great, phone calls are good, but the most effective way of impacting voters, in my opinion, is knocking on their door and talking to them.Â Some of the best campaigners are good at getting out and meeting folks in their community, and getting volunteers to do the same on their behalf.Â I’m really glad that Matt and Kim are going out today to connect with the voters.Â This year’s election should be a turning point for our state and our county.
How can we all best show our appreciation for the work being done by party leaders and volunteers?Â Get out and vote.Â Polk County satellite voting is available today and tomorrow (locations can be found at www.polkgop.com) and early voting is available up to the day before election day (information on this also found at www.polkgop.com).Â Or, just go to your polling place on election day and vote.Â If you don’t know where your polling place is, you can get that information at this link.
Parties and candidates can all still use volunteer help.Â Go to www.polkgop.com to find a Republican candidate to connect with, or use the contact information there to connect with the Polk County Republican Party or the Republican Party of Iowa.
Now is the time to make a difference.Â Don’t wait.
Registrations for the pre-release screening of “I Want Your Money” in Des Moines are already trending beyond expectations of the group that is hosting the free event.Â Event organizers now expect well over 200 people to attend the event to be held on Sunday October 3 at the Varsity Theatre, which can seat over 400 people.
“We’re delighted that people are willing to make this a priority on such short notice,” said Will Rogers, event organizer and Polk County Republican Co-Chair.Â “There is a continued wave of discontent with Washington politics and the lack of good fiscal management by our current government.Â People are really paying attention to the economy and our national debt and this movie illustrates the magnitude of the problem.”
The screening of “I Want Your Money”, is scheduled at 3:45 PM on Sunday October 15.Â It is sponsored by Polk County Republicans, along with The Iowa Republican (www.theiowarepublican.com) and The Conservative Reader (www.theconservativereader.com), two Iowa-based conservative news and commentary web sites.
WHEN:Â Sunday, October 3, 2010
TIME:Â 3:45 PM
LOCATION:Â The Varsity Theatre, 1207 25th Street, Des Moines, Iowa
TICKET PRICE:Â FREE.Â Register online at www.polkgop.com
Event Contact: Art Smith, 515-491-8747, [email protected]