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:
- Matt Strawn
- Danny Carrol (a close second)
- Gopal Krishna
- Paul Pate & Matt Randall (tie)
- Ted Sporer
- 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.
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.
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.