I attended the Polk County Republican’s fall fundraiser last night.  It was held at Living History Farms in the Flynn Barn.  Yes, a barn, insert your favorite Iowa joke here.  It was cold.  They said there would be heat, and there was in the form of a few space heaters that did precious little good unless you were standing next to them.  Which I noticed our state’s National Committeewoman for the Republican National Committee, Kim Lehman, was smart enough to do.  No wonder she was elected to that position :).

Former Governor Robert Ray was in attendance, and we were able to hear from several of our elected officials and candidates for federal office such as: State of Iowa Auditor David Vaudt, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, and Iowa 3rd Congressional District Candidate Dave Funk.

We were able to have five of the seven GOP candidates in the 2010 Iowa Gubernatorial race come speak: Representative Rod Roberts (R-Carroll), Cedar Rapids businessman Christian Fong, Senator Jerry Behn (R-Boone), Representative Chris Rants (R-Sioux City) and Sioux City businessman Bob Vander PlaatsSenator Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) and former Governor Terry Branstad were not in attendance.  You can watch the gubernatorial candidate remarks here or below.

I thought all of the candidates did a great job keeping their comments brief.  All placed their primary focus on the state’s budget issues and Governor Culver’s incredible mismanagement of our state’s budget.  In that regard, Chris Rants, had the quote of the night in my opinion, “the across-the-board cut was a dumb and lazy way to solve our budget problem.”  I agree.  There are much better ways to approach cutting the budget and Rants gave some options of smart reductions to make as we are facing the possibility that property taxes could rise by $250 million.  Out of all of the speeches, I felt Rants gave the most details/ideas of what he would do as Governor in managing the budget.

Vander Plaats gave what I thought was the most impassioned speech, but no specifics.  Christian Fong has a compelling background being the son of an immigrant, but I’m still not convinced he’s really making a case that will convince voters that he is qualified.

McKinley was out-of-town tonight so was unable to attend.  There is some speculation as to whether or not he’ll stay in since Branstad filed to run.  I’m curious as to why Branstad did not attend.  I didn’t hear a reason, and I am interested in seeing how he will campaign.  His winning the primary is in no way a given for him.  If he comes looking for a coronation he will likely be disappointed.  I think he really needed to be there last night unless he had a compelling reason not to be.  Time to start campaigning.

It was a good night, and now I can finally feel my fingers enough to type.

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