(Des Moines, IA) This is a follow-up to yesterday’s story about the Iowa GOP moving the State Convention date back. I did update the story to say that Lyon County Republican Chair Cody Hoefert said he was not present for the vote as he was out of the room for a restroom break.
Here is the list of those in attendance who I was told voted.
- Chad Steenhoek
- Cody Hoefert
- Gopal Krishna
- Joel Kurtinitis
- Steve Scheffler
- Tamara Scott
- Marcus Fedler
- Jeff Shipley
- Mark Doland
- Dave Cushman
- Tony Krebsback
- A.J. Spiker (Correction: Spiker was present, but the chairman can not vote)
- Bob Anderson (by phone – update: did not vote)
- John Kabitzke (Updated: I was told later that he was present as well)
- David Fischer (Updated: He was there, but like Spiker has no vote.)
Mark Doland, who is the secretary for the committee, said “I specifically remember the motion and discussion. Cody was there. A.J. does not call votes when people are in the bathroom.”
He told Caffeinated Thoughts that the discussion about the convention date came out of the organization committee report that is chaired by Gopal Krishna. He remembers it being a unanimous vote in that committee as well. He said nobody objected to the idea during discussion.
Tamara Scott told Caffeinated Thoughts, “the way they explained it, it made sense.” She also said nobody objected. She said she did not remember if Hoefert was in the room, but said she had no reason not to believe him. She said the committee had heard from the 2nd District who sent a request for a date.
Scott believes this decision is fair for all of the candidates, and was not meant to favor any one candidate. All of the U.S. Senate candidates, I believe, have signed a letter requesting the committee to reverse their decision. There is a question whether the candidates attitudes will be different if the decision has to be made at convention. Scott said there was discussion that if the nominee had to be decided by convention that the candidates would want time to reach out of delegates.
She has been disappointed by some of the reaction. “I hope that one day our love to country will surpass our angst toward fellow Republicans and that we would do what is best,” Scott said.
Caffeinated Thoughts was told that Governor Branstad had representation at the State Central Committee meeting and there was no objection from them at the time. (Update: It was pointed out to me that non-SCC members were not given the opportunity to comment, nor was there an appropriate time to do so. Also, somebody else mentioned that Branstad folks couldn’t comment without first “running it up the flagpole.” Both are good points. A phone call from Gov. Branstad or surrogate on Sunday would have been preferable to criticizing the decision during a press conference on Monday however).
Caffeinated Thoughts also learned from A.J. Spiker, that the state law states that a valid vacancy does not exist on the ballot until the Secretary of State’s office completes its canvass and validates the vote. He said theoretically they could hold a convention anytime, but that doesn’t mean that they should. An inquiry has been made to the Secretary of State’s office to confirm whether this is the case.
My thoughts: Hindsight being 20/20 this probably should have been handled differently. One argument was that it wasn’t placed on the agenda; however the next State Central Committee is scheduled for December 7th. Could you imagine if they waited until December to change the date? Perhaps they could have put on the agenda and meet earlier, but I don’t know what scheduling issues there would be. From those I talked to there was no indication that this decision would be controversial, that it made sense for the party. There certainly wasn’t any nefarious intent.
Also while you can have a special convention prior to canvassing being complete is that really wise?
This is a different strategy, and people tend to resist change. That doesn’t necessarily make the decision “a mistake.” There needs to be more respect shown and grace extended.
Update to my thoughts: By the way, I just thought I’d mention that I’m not encouraging anyone to dig their heels in, and if State Central Committee members hearing feedback from their constituents decide to move the date back – fine by me. I’m not stuck on a particular date, as that would contradict my point. What I’ve been troubled by mostly has been the vitriol by some who have criticized the SCC and leadership and what I believe is as an overreaction to the date change. I do understand why the candidates are concerned at the moment, and I thought the letter signed by the U.S. Senate candidates below was well written and respectful in its tone. However, if the nomination has to be decided in convention so they may feel differently on June 5, 2014.
Update: Below is a copy of the letter signed to A.J. Spiker from all five of the U.S. Senate candidates.