The Des Moines Register’s chief political reporter, Tom Beaumont, compiled a list of Iowans who can “make or break a GOP presidential candidate.”  Since the 2012 Iowa Caucus is tentatively expected to be held on February 6, 2012 (it could be moved up if other states get frisky) the search is on the “top talent, support and advice from party leaders and opinion shapers across the state.”   He gave a few caveats:

Far more than 50 Iowans will become influential in the outcome of the caucuses. A record 124,000 Iowans participated in the 2008 GOP caucuses, and Republican wins in the midterm elections could trigger an even larger turnout in 2012. The list encompasses leaders at the local and state level, veterans and up-and-comers, behind-the-scenes movers and public opinion leaders.

What it doesn’t include: the state’s most prominent elected Republicans, namely Gov.-elect Terry Branstad, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Iowa’s two GOP congressmen, Steve King and Tom Latham. They obviously will be courted. In some instances, a handful of people were chosen as representative of a type of target, such as county chairmen (each of the 99 county chairs will be prized) or leaders in the evangelical community (many pastors will become influential).

Two initial thoughts upon reading The LIST

1.  Tom didn’t you get the check I sent?  Come on man!

2.  If you are a potential 2012 presidential candidate and are deciding who your go-to folks are based on this list – don’t bother running.

No offense to anyone on the list, but it is rather limited and there are some problems inherent with it.

  • Anyone who is now working for the Branstad Administration – Tim Albrecht, Jeff Boeyink, and David Roederer for example shouldn’t be on this list .  Unless they don’t plan on being employed after 18 months it is going to be very difficult for those in the state executive bureaucracy to be involved.  Seek out for advice?  Sure. One caveat though – have any one of these guys been involved with a successful caucus campaign?  Not to my knowledge.  Their advice would likely be more valuable for the general election.  Frankly I’d rather see them focused on their new jobs.  Their value as far as an endorsement goes, in my opinion, is virtually nil.
  • My opinion, but Doug Gross will not be working for the person who will win the Iowa Caucus, and I think his influence has waned.
  • Their activist list is woefully incomplete.  Why some county chairs were picked and others weren’t leaves me scratching my head, but ok.  For instance, Bill Salier should be included.  I think he would be more influential than say Christian Fong.  Also why leave out Rod Roberts?  I believe he carries more weight and has more influence than Christian Fong.  I don’t mean to pile on Christian, but I see others who should be on this list before him.  That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be an asset to a presidential campaign.
  • Also missing are Marianette Miller-Meeks, Jim Gibbons, Dave Funk, and Ben Lange.  Not that he has had much involvement in GOP circles, but Tom Chapman of the Iowa Catholic Conference should be considered for this list.  A couple of suggestions – Cary Gordon in Sioux City who made some waves recently.  Also, Jeff Mullen at Point of Grace Church in Waukee could be an influential voice.
  • Krusty Konservative also gave a list of people who could be included including some grassroots activists who are definitely not a part of the establishment like Caree Severson and Lynn Reed-Rodgers.  Again yours truly has been left off that list.  Krusty I would have sent you a check if I actually knew your identity.
  • I commend Beaumont for listing State Representative-Elect Kim Pearson under the officials subtitle, as well as, State Senator-Elect Kent Sorenson.  Obvious omissions are Secretary of State-Elect Matt Schultz, Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, Auditor Dave Vaudt, State Senator and former Third Congressional District Brad Zaun, and Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley.
  • Also bloggers are absent, I’m glad to see Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican listed, but there are number of bloggers, Caffeinated Thoughts included, who will be influential and will have a larger audience than some of the activists that the Register picked.

Who do you think should be on the list and who shouldn’t?

3 comments
  1. Note: Sen. McKinley irrelevant in a Presidential bid and even the register knows it. Northey and Vaudt while great officials may not hold as much weight as say Matt Schultz yet Northey’s endorsement could go a long way with some AG folks. Doug Gross whether someone likes it or not is going to be relevant even if that influence has shrunk but this influence is all in the same circle as Roederer and most of the operatives mentioned. More notable some of the operatives left off the list who have flown under the radar though being even more successful behind the scenes say Greg Baker with the anti-retention vote or maybe Dennis Fusaro from Right to Work and Aaron Dorr Iowa Gun Owners. Activists how about David Fischer or AJ Spiker who have built a great organization in Campaign4Liberty, Jim and Kathy Carley who come as a team but are well respected among many in the Tea Party.

    1. Great additions.. I see your point with McKinley. Doug Gross I’m pretty confident won’t go for the person who will win the caucus unless social conservative vote is so fractured Romney wins. I should have mentioned Fischer and Spiker, thanks for bringing them up.

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