Last Tuesday night the Linn County Republican Central Committee passed a resolution containing the following text:
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED by the Republican Central Committee, Linn County, Iowa, this date met in lawful session, that the Central Committee encourages contested primary candidates for Governor to pledge support for the primary process and of the eventual duly elected Republican nominee so that our primary objectives of defeating Chet Culver and electing a Republican as Governor of Iowa is met. This pledge shall be asked of each candidate for Governor upon the first public event attended by said candidate or at the Iowa Caucuses held at Washington High School, whichever shall occur first.
The resolution was authored by Brent Oleson
, a Republican Linn County Supervisor and Branstad supporter. The resolution of course is a response to Iowa Family PAC
and Kent Sorenson's
endorsement of Bob Vander Plaats and un-endorsement
of Terry Branstad fueling speculation that should Vander Plaats not win the nomination he might even run a third-party campaign for governor.
While I did not support the resolution, I would not go as far as Al over at the Iowa Defense Alliance and call it madness either. In debate, I led the minority opposition and the resolution passed by a relatively narrow margin. Now, I do believe that we as Republicans should support our candidates and the primary process — my problem was that this resolution was an attempt by a Branstad supporter to embarrass Vander Plaats and I did not want my county central committee to insert itself into the process in this way.
At our Caucus both Rod Roberts and Bob Vander Plaats gave speeches. Afterwards, Linn County Chairman, Tim Palmer (editor of the Hawkeye Review), spoke about the resolution. He said that the loyalty pledge had been sent to each of the campaigns and that Branstad, Rants and Roberts had responded that they would support the eventual nominee. The Vander Plaats campaign said that they would have a press release clarifying their position soon. Tim may have given more detail but that is my recollection.
It puts Vander Plaats in an interesting position. If he agrees to the pledge, he runs the danger of alienating some of his strongest and most vocal supporters who have said that they will not support Branstad even if he wins the primary. On the other hand if he does not agree to the pledge he runs the risk of alienating others in the party who consider all four of our candidates to be a better choice than re-electing Chet Culver. People seem to forget that in 2006, Vander Plaats played the good party soldier and suspended his campaign to run on a Nussle/Vander Plaats ticket. It will be interesting to see what he does this time.
Well played, Brent, well played.