After Saturday’s State Convention the new RPI State Central Committee had its first meeting. Having caucused beforehand with almost all of the newly elected (or re-elected) members of the SCC, we had decided to call for a special meeting to elect a new chair and co-chair on June 28th. After our meeting, a couple of us were going to approach Danny and Gopal and inform them privately of our plans. We wanted to give them the option of writing their own narrative about their exit. They could resign quietly and say they were moving on to seek other opportunities, or they could force a vote of the SCC on June 28th to remove them. It was always our intent to give them the choice.
During Saturday’s meeting, Danny was proactive and directly addressed the rumors that he would be removed as chair. He said that he is ‘not a quitter’ and that he ‘would not resign’. At that point, I made the decision unilaterally, to inform him that we would be calling a meeting to elect his successor on June 28th.
Since that time, I have had a handful of people ask me why I am calling to replace the chair and co-chair. (One of my colleagues on the SCC even had someone suggest on Facebook that the flooding in his hometown God’s wrath due to his upcoming vote against Danny.) I have had a couple of thoughtful phone calls and email exchanges on the topic. On Facebook, I promised to post my thoughts (as I do on most issues of importance facing the SCC) on this blog.
This is not about Danny’s faith; this is not about Danny being a conservative. I too am a Christian, born again, a sinner saved by grace. I too am a conservative, I am the one who put a Life section in our platform (pro-life planks used to be in Health and Human Services). In other circumstances, Danny and I could and should have been friends (we are even both bicyclists). I do believe that Danny is an honorable Christian man, but I also believe that he is not the right man to lead RPI at this time and here are my reasons why.
One email I received said this is a power play on behalf of the new SCC. The power play actually began with AJ’s resignation as chairman. He resigned in order to prevent his removal by the incoming SCC. In the interim, Danny was advised not to seek to be elected by the lame duck SCC. Danny’s election was a parting shot from AJ at the new SCC.
The power play continued when Danny’s (and National Committeewoman Tamara Scott’s) employer, The Family Leader, passed out materials at District Convention stating that 14 of the people who would ultimately be elected to the SCC; were RINOS, would ignore the grassroots, had no backbone, and would simply be cheerleaders for the establishment. They also seemed to imply that we were not Christians. They didn’t choose to just support their candidates they also chose to attack anyone else that they perceived as being supported by the governor. (Interestingly, having support from the establishment was not enough to make the Family Leader single out Bill Gustoff or Gabe Haugland.) The Family Leader’s actions only further poisoned the relationship between Danny and at least 14 of the 16 SCC members.
I believe that leaders in the Republican Party must ultimately support the party’s nominees. (In the primary 2010 gubernatorial primary, I very publicly supported another candidate myself.) But, the primary is the ultimate act of the grassroots. Danny has said (and I believe him to be a man of his word) that he will support the governor. Unfortunately, as long as Danny is chairman, I am certain that a Jack Hatch ad will feature the Chairman of the Iowa GOP on the steps of the capitol saying he will not support Branstad even if he were to become the nominee.
Finally, this Central Committee (like every other) was elected by the grassroots and has a mandate. A mandate to run the party effectively, promote Republican values and elect Republican candidates. (Which candidates? The ones chosen by the grassroots in the primaries.) I do not believe that Danny Carroll is the right man to chair the Republican Party of Iowa and help us fulfill our mandate at this time.