The Usual Suspects

Liberal blogger John Deeth (he of the raspberry beret) has an excellent post on Saturday's fundraiser for flood relief in Cedar Rapids. I also meet blogger Lynda Waddington of Iowa Independent

. The event was keynoted by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Jindal was considered by many to be a possible VP pick for John McCain this summer. Jindal went on to Des Moines to keynote the Iowa Family Policy Center's fall fundraiser.

Jindal gave a good speech. He is certainly a rising star in our party.
As governor of Louisiana, he had to stay at home to deal with Hurricane
Gustav during the Republican National Convention. He didn't get his
Obama moment but keep an eye on him — he is going places.

While this was a non-partisan flood relief effort, Deeth is right when he says that "you wouldn't know it from the crowd." It was a Who's Who of Eastern Iowa Republicans.

From the podium, Peter Teahen, who lost the 2nd District congressional primary, spoke about flood relief and the ubiquitous Bob VanderPlaats introduced Governor Jindal. In the audience was 2nd District Congressional candidate Marianette Miller-Meeks.

The head tables had Ag Secretary Bill Northey, GOP Supervisor-elect (doesn't it sound great saying that!!!) Brent Oleson, HD 29 candidate Emma Nemecek, Linn County CC member Jason Besler and Billboard Bob Klaus.

I sat at a table of Republicans including another National Convention Delegate. I spoke with Johnson County CC Chair Bill Kietel and Bob Anderson from the McCain campaign. I saw Clayton County chair Gwen Eilers (who ran a write-in campaign for Steve Rathje) and I spoke briefly with Steve Rathje and Party Co-Chair Leon Mosely.

Muscatine county GOP secretary Carolyn Williams introduced herself. I also saw former Linn County CC chairman Eric Rosenthal and from Fayette County, former State Central Committee member David Hansen. There were also several of my friends from the Linn County Central Committee in attendance.

We may be a dysfunctial family, but we are a family just the same. Governor Jindal's parents are Indian but he was born and raised in Louisiana. So as he would put it with his southern drawl:

It was great seeing y'all.

The Boys Are Back in Town

The Boys are back in town. We are not even through pointing fingers and placing blame for the 2008 elections — the race for 2012 is on.

This morning, I was running some errands and I had some time to kill. I took my daughters to Barnes and Noble in Cedar Rapids. When I pulled up I saw the Huckabus. I knew that Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was coming to town but I had forgotten that it was today.

My daughters wanted their picture taken with the bus. When we went inside, the got to see the governor from afar. I was excited to see several of my friends there who had been active in the Huckabee campaign.

This Saturday, I am going to go see Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal at a fundraiser for Serve the City. Serve the City is an evangelical ministry that has been instrumental in flood releif in Cedar Rapids.

After his CR appearance, Governor Huckabee was off to a Des Moines book signing. After Saturday’s breakfast, Governor Jindal will be on his way to Des Moines for an Iowa Family Policy Center event.

I arrived at the Huckabee event late (since I was really only planning on taking my girls to Barnes and Noble) but when I arrived there were more than 100 people still there. I didn’t see 500 but perhaps the crowd had thinned by then.

The Race for RPI Chairman

Two years ago, before I was on the SCC, this blog was anonymous. At that time I expressed my frustration at the SCC when they re-elected Ray Hoffman as party chairman. To make matters worse, rather than report the vote, they kept the vote secret and declared that the election was unanimous. I was so angry, I could not talk to anyone on the SCC for weeks.

This time, I am on the SCC and in January we will vote on a new chairman for the party. The GOP blogosphere is buzzing with talk about the possible candidates. I have been receiving phone calls from candidates and others. A variety of GOP and GOP-related groups have been holding secret meetings all across the state.

It's no secret that I am a social conservative, and my preference is certainly to elect a social conservative as party chair. But I am not just a social conservative, I am fiscal conservative, I am a small businessman, I am a pro-gun conservative and I will even admit to having some libertarian leanings. The only way that any of the issues I care about will ever become policy is if we regain a majority in the Iowa Legislature and win back Terrace Hill.

So, when it comes time to choose a party chair, I am more interested in their plan to rebuild the party than their ideology. I want to hear about candidate recruitment, fund-raising, absentee and early voting programs, and communications with county and grassroots organizations. We have dug a deep hole and we all need to work together to get out of it.

As I have promised before, this time, the results of the vote will not be a secret. I will report the results on this blog.

HD-37 Renee Schulte — the race is not over

One of the bright spots on election night was Renee Schulte defeating Democratic incumbent Art Staed in HD-37 in Linn County. Renee is an awesome young lady and a great candidate. She worked hard in her race, she articulated the issues and she will be a great asset in Des Moines.

One election night the counts came in showing Renee winning by 47 votes. My celebration that night was tempered by the knowledge that while absentee ballots must be postmarked by election day — they will be counted if received by November 10th. Further, that evening we did not know how many provisional ballots had been received. Those ballots would not be counted unless there were enough to make a difference in the race.

In today's Cedar Rapids Gazette, the auditor's office came out with the numbers. The Gazette reports:

Some 30 new absentee ballots in the District 37 race arrived at the Linn County Auditor’s Office Wednesday and Thursday. Added to 54 provisional ballots and 48 absentee ballots that were rejected by the absentee board, the number of votes that could still be counted in the race was 132 on Thursday.

Absentee ballots are rejected for problems with the affidavits that voters are supposed to mail with the ballots. The voters are contacted to try to resolve the problems, Auditor Joel Miller said.

The final results won't be final until next Wednesday and the official canvass of the vote — stay tuned.

It’s official, Iverson’s out in January

I just heard on WHO radio that state GOP Chairman Stewart Iverson will not seek re-election in January. That makes the race for the chairman wide-open. Stewart stepped in at a difficult time and presided over an even more difficult time. As a new SCC member, I didn't get to know Stewart that well. Over time, I have come to appreciate his optimism and sense of humor. I wish him good fortune in his future ventures.

The campaign for chair is already on. I am already getting calls. (Of course, Ted is campaigning on Deace rigth now.) What are your thoughts? Who should be our next chair be?

November 5th

I woke up early this morning to drive my daughter to school and on the way she remarked how pretty the leaves were. We turned east and drove into a beautiful pink sunrise. I guess the world didn't end last night. Today is a new day.

I spent yesterday poll watching. In my assigned precinct we had surprisingly few issues. Early in the day, the Democratic lawyer who was assigned to my precinct and I got into a bit of a discussion. We had a guy who claimed he had just moved but could not prove residency. At one point she suggested that he could be considered homeless. If he were, Section 48A5(b) of the Iowa Code reads:

Be an Iowa resident. A person's residence, for voting purposes only, is the place which the person declares is the person's home with the intent to remain there permanently or for a definite, or indefinite or indeterminable length of time. A person who is homeless or has no established residence may declare residence in a precinct by describing on the voter registration form a place to which the person often returns.

I objected, that the person was not homeless. He had stated the address at which he resides. Rather he could not provide proof of residency. Further, it was not appropriate in the polling place for her to coach the voter. She later agreed that it was improper and we had no further issues. In fact we got along quite well, our children go to the same school and are involved in band and choir together.

Yesterday evening I went to our county Victory Party. There is plenty of commentary on the statewide results, so I'll be a little more parochial and focus on my county. The presidential results weren't really a surprise but I was crushed when Miller-Meeks lost. Then Reed. Then the county races started coming in. Mahacek, Rosenthal, Erceg, Zahn all lost, the one bright light in county government was Brent Oleson who handily won his supervisor's race. In the legislature, Potts, Nemecek, and Childers all lost. We had two more reasons to celebrate, Nick Wagner won handily in HD36 and Renee Schulte squeaked by winning by 47 votes in HD37. We'll be on pins and needles for a few days because the margin will likely trigger a recount. At this point I do not know how many provisional ballots were cast but they may come into play.

As for our party, we need to begin looking to the future now. The first step is to analyze our failures (and our successes) from last night. We need to look at absentee ballots, GOTV, volunteer organization and more. 

As a member of the State Central Committee, I serve on the Organization Sub-Committee. Many of these issues wll fall into our area of responsibility. We need your input — we need to listen to our county organizations. 2010 is going to be a crucial year the work starts now.