Congressman Kraig Paulsen?

The Coralville Courier has an article titled Congressman Kraig Paulsen comments on Governor Culver's hypocrisy. Hmm.. Congressman Paulsen — I like the sound of that.

I think they mean Representative Paulsen, our new Iowa House Minority Leader. In the article Kraig takes on the governor's hypocrisy in appointing a commission to spend $1,000,000 on a task force to study Independent Contractors. As Kraig points out, this is taking place at a time when the state is forced to make extensive budget cuts.

Paulsen says:

I am amazed that the governor doesn't think the 2,600 new state employees he authorized in the last 2 years are enough. Further, these additions the governor proposes are being made to address an issue that
I have yet to receive a single constituent contact on.

This is the kind of fiscally responsible message that we need to keep in the forefront. Keep up the good work Kraig!

The RPI Chair Race – A Perspective

In this post, I will probably ramble a bit. I have thoughts on several issues relating to the Chair race and I will address them here:

Handicapping the Race

IMHO, the blogs are wrong. Both Krusty

and Flyover Country list Gopal Krishna as the frontrunner (Krusty) or in a tie for first (Flyover Country). I have not done a straw poll of SCC members but the candidates as I would handicap them today are:

  1. Matt Strawn
  2. Danny Carrol (a close second)
  3. Gopal Krishna
  4. Paul Pate & Matt Randall (tie)
  5. Ted Sporer
  6. Andy Cable & Christoper Reed (tie)

Krusty's Dark Horse

Krusty is complaining that the current field has not produced a clear winner. He suggests that this is because no candidate of sufficient stature has thrown their hat in the ring. I would like to vigourously disagree.

I think that we have an excellent field of candidates. Each brings a unique set of skills and experiences to the table. I think the fact that none of them has risen to the top as the clear winner is testimony to the quality of the field — not the lack thereof.

There is no Dark Horse — I firmly believe that on Januay 10th, the new RPI chairman will be one of the names listed above.

Gopal Krishna

Krusty is right, comments on his site have gotten out of hand. But Krusty himself is at least partly to blame by the example he set in his own posts. Krusty's treatment of Gopal has been unseemly to say the least.

Krusty ressurected the 2000 Mosely letter on his blog. Now, I think the letter is fair game and Krusty should be applauded for the history lesson. But in his further posts there is a level of vitriol that seems to go beyond a reasonable assessment of the candidate and probably results from some personal offense. Without knowing Krusty's identity, it is difficult to understand.

Krusty makes some valid points but in his December 5th post Krusty said:

As chairman would Gopal be able to be a good communicator for the Party?

He is obviously very intelligent, but to be honest he’s hard to understand which doesn’t bode well for him in TV and Radio interviews. He has chaired the3rd District Caucus a few times and people have said they can’t understand him. So will be able to motivate the base of our party?

Are we so xenophobic that this is the criteria on which we judge our candidates? Yes, Gopal has an accent but he speaks English as well as I do.

While I do not think Gopal is the front runner, he is a contender. He is a successful businessman and a longtime contributor to Republican causes. He has been involved in the party for a long time and has excellent connections. His role as RPI treasurer gives him a unique insight into party finances shared by no other candidate. Despite the issues surrounding the 2008 State Convention, I have personally seen him in the role of diplomat/peacemaker in a variety touchy situations within the party. While Krusty points out some of his weaknesses, it is unfair to say that he has no strengths for the position.

The Race for Co-Chair

One of the unspoken issues in this discussion has been co-chair. This time around, there seems to be a great deal of interest among SCC members in electing a co-chair specifically to complement the skillset of the chair.

Thus far no one has explicitly expressed a desire to run for co-chair. Many activists have assumed that current co-chair Leon Mosely will be automatically re-elected. I am originally form Black Hawk County and currently live in Linn County. I have known Leon for some time and known of him for much longer. Leon is extremely popular among grassroots Republicans.

My sense is that the choice of chair will greatly influence the choice of co-chair. I and many of my SCC colleagues are looking at both positions as a package. For example, if our chair were a person with extensive grassroots organizing experience, we would seek a co-chair with good Des Moines connections and fundraising experience.

My prediction is, that the next RPI co-chair will come from the list of candidates who have declared for the chair spot.

The Campaign

This campaign for Chair has been unlike any other. Matt Strawn set the bar high with his blog, youtube, twitter and statewide Pizza and Politics tour. I attended his Cedar Rapids event and I was impressed. There were about a dozen activists from Linn and Johnson Counties present. Strawn did a good job fielding questions and I got the impression that many in the crowd were swayed. The tour was a good move since many have questioned Strawn's ability to connect to county activists.

Danny Carroll has run an interesting campaign as well. He has an excellent grassroots network and as an SCC member, I have been receiving a steady stream of pro-Carroll e-mails. Recently, I was pointed to Carrols's campaign web site. This was his State House campaign not his campaign for Chairman. [[Correction: I did not dig into the site deeply enogh to read the information on his campaign for chair.]]

Paul Pate also put up a web site specifically for the chair race. Several blog commentators criticized it for its layout, etc., Paul put it together himself so he gets an E for effort.

The public candidate forum re-scheduled for this weekend is also a first. SCC member and chairman candidate Matt Randall came up with the idea. This will be a good opportunity for both grassroots activists and a SCC members to get one last look at the candidates before the January 10th vote.

RPI Chair Candidate Forum — Sat Dec 27

As most of you know, RPI is sponsoring a public forum from 10 am-12 noon, Saturday, December 27th. The forum will take place at RPI headquarters at 621 E. 9th St. Des Moines. This forum is open to the public, so feel free to stop by. A shout out to Matt Randall for suggesting the idea. Matt is also a candidate for chairman.

4th District SCC Member Bill Schickel has volunteered to moderate the forum. The Agenda is:

Welcome and introductions

Candidates Opening Statements
(2 minutes each)

Questions from State Central Committee Members

Questions from audience

Candidate Closing Statements
(2 minutes each)

Announcement of meet and greet time to follow

The only problem with the forum is the timing. Some SCC members, myself included, have conflicts for Saturday. Even so this will be a chance for the candidates to share their ideas in a public way.

This forum is further proof that this race for chairman is unlike any in the past.

Merry Christmas from HawkeyeGOP

Merry Christmas. Today's Cedar Rapids Gazette had a beautiful photo of St. Wenceslaus Church and some flood damaged homes at night. Superimposed over the photo were these familiar words:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:8-11 KJV

I can not say it any better.

RPI Chairman Candidate — Matt Strawn

Matt Strawn

In a post on the chairman race last week, I suggested that Matt Strawn was something of a wild card in the race. He is the owner of the Iowa Barnstormers and has an impressive political resume. He was raised in Iowa but has only recently returned to the state. Most activists around the state do not know him.

Since that time, his stock has risen considerably — he may even be the frontrunner in the race. It started with his campaign video on YouTube. Since then, he has another video and a blog. Strawn is also on Twitter and Facebook. He has also started a Pizza and Politics tour to meet with activists in 10 communities all across the state.

Clearly, Matt understands technology. Several bloggers and commentators have pointed out our party's failure to use technology in the 2008 elections. I should probably state by way of disclaimer that I am a professional tech guy. I make my living working with technology and use a variety of technology every day. Having said that — we did not lose the election because of our failure to use technology. But I agree that one of the ares in which we need to improve is the use of technology.

Strawn has shown that he is willing to pull out all the stops in this race. His tour to connect with activists in all corners of the state is a brilliant move, it answers one of the key criticisms of him — that he is not well known outside of Des Moines. Strawn, is clearly playing to win.

While I still think the race is not yet decided, Strawn has to be one of the top contenders.

The Race for RPI Chairman

The race for RPI Chairman is heating up. As of now, here are the contenders that have declared their candidacy (at least to me) in alphabetical order.

Danny Carroll 
Danny is a former legislator from Poweshiek County. Danny has a lot of support in the blogosphere and from legislators.

Andy Cable
Andy has is co-chair of the Hardin County GOP. He has a lot of campaign experience and is a frequent commentor on this and other blogs.

Gopal Krishna
Gopal is on the State Central Committe and is the current treasurer of RPI. Gopal served three terms as RPI co-chair. Gopal is a Des Moines based engineer and businessman.

Paul Pate 
Paul served as Iowa's Secretary of State. He also served in the Iowa Senate and was mayor of Cedar Rapids. He runs an asphalt company in Linn County.

Matt Randall       
Matt is on the State Central Committee. He is an Ames businessman and his been active in organizing young professionals in his community.

Christopher Reed   
Christopher was the GOP challenger to Tom Harkin in the 2008 Senate Race. He is a Navy vet and runs a business in Linn County.

Ted Sporer 
Ted is Polk County GOP Chairman. Ted is a Des Moines attorney. His blog, The Real Sporer, has been dormant for a while but he was the first major non-anonymous GOP blog in Iowa.

Matt Strawn 
Matt is the newcomer to this race and something of a wild card. He is a Des Moines businessman and the principal owner of the Iowa Barnstormers. Matt has a great deal of political experience and held a reception for SCC members after Friday night's committee meetings.

There may be other candidates but these are the ones who have either publicly announced or contacted me. As I have said before, I have not made up my mind. I have had a chance to talk at length with all of the candidates yet, but I am trying to sync my schedule with several of them.

I think that we have an excellent field with some great choices. At this point I do not believe that any candidate has the 9 votes necessary to win.

SCC Meeting – Miscellaneous

Censure was not the only thing on the agenda of Saturday's SCC Meeting. In this post, I want to recap some of the rest of the meeting.

First, kudos to Chairman Stewart Iverson. On Friday night, before our committee meetings, Stewart informed us that he had told people who were interested in addressing the committee to be there at 1pm. Stewart planned to let people speak and not set a time limit unless iot got out of hand. The SCC usually has a working lunch and as Krusty said, it was a nice touch that there was enough food for everyone. (Darrel is a good cook!) I thought Stewart did an excellent job handling both visitors and our debate. (Even though I put him on the spot with some parliamentary stuff.)

Technology. There was a lot of discussion about technology at the meeting. There is no questions that the Democrats did a better job of using technology in this cycle. As Jason Hucheson said, "If I cannot Google you, you are irrelavant." Someone pointed out that even Senator Grassley has Twitter. The result will be that the new chair will likely appoint a technology committee. I am a computer consultant in my day job. I suspect I and some of the other more computer savy members will be on it.

Candidate recruitment. Recruitment will be one of our biggest challenges in this next cycle. There is a lot of optimism that 2010 will be a good Republican year here in Iowa. We must field a slate of good candidates in order to taake advantage of it.

Candidates support. There was a lot of discussion about how the state party can better support candidates. Among the ideas, strengthening RPI's candidate schools to better prepare candidates for the process. I brought up being pro-active in helping candidates in things like recounts. And providing a better support system for county candidates. Legislative candidates have the Legislative majority fund and the House and Senate leadership but many county candidates do not have a significant support infrastructure.

The legislature. Newly elected House Minority Leader, Kraig Paulsen addressed the group. I was especially excited to hear that Kraig and Senate Minority Leader, Paul McKinley are planning on working more closely together and coordinating their efforts. We all need to work to gether, House and Senate Republican Caucuses, County office holders, County Central Committees, State Central Committee, federal and state-wide office holders. We are one team.

Chair election. As predicted, the election for chair will be held January 10th. Matt Randall suggested a public candidate forum for December 27th. It is a horrible date, I have a family commitment for that day that I cannot change since it involves people's travel schedules. I know some others have commitments as well. However, it is a great idea, and even if all SCC members cannot be there, it should be beneficial to the process.