I read with interest Jennifer Jacobs’ story in The Des Moines Register on the status of the Republican Party of Iowa. For transparency sake I’ll remind my readers that I have a contract with RPI for their website and social media. I’d also like to point out that my opinion on the matter is just that – my opinion, not that of the Republican Party of Iowa.
So yes I have a personal interest in this story. For the record with the vote on the Republican Party of Iowa chair this Saturday I’m am officially mum. I like A.J. Spiker and I like Bill Schickel and I think either would do a fine job as chair. Due to my work with the Republican Party of Iowa it would be inappropriate for me to comment further than that or to speculate about the results. I will be at the State Central Committee meeting Saturday to report the results of the election on behalf of Caffeinated Thoughts, not RPI.
Regarding the fundraising decline there are probably several reasons for this.
- No doubt some Republicans were not happy with the make up of the State Central Committee and its leadership and sent their money elsewhere. Can I submit that had Matt Strawn stayed as chair, there probably would also have been a drop because of unhappiness about how the Iowa Caucus results were handled? We can’t know this for sure because Matt did the right thing by resigning. Whenever there is a change in leadership, and especially when it happened unexpectedly like it did, there are going to be people who are unhappy. I admit I had some concerns, but I also gave A.J. Spiker the benefit of the doubt as he came into a tough situation when confidence in the Republican Party of Iowa took a hit.
- 2012 did not include Iowa Straw Poll money. That’s not a small, minor thing. They raise a lot of money with that event.
- It isn’t surprising that they ran in the red and have less cash on hand by the end of the year in 2012 compared to 2011. Again they had the Straw Poll, and the Republican Party of Iowa doesn’t get involved in contested primaries nor the Iowa Caucus beyond the Straw Poll. Expenditures ramped up for the general election. For an accurate contrast I’d been interested in seeing how 2012 compared to 2008.
That said there are certainly things that need to be addressed. Perception is, as they say, reality and regardless of the outcome of the vote on Saturday there needs to be continued bridge building. I’d encourage RPI leadership to reach out to their detractors and continue to work to include them. I’d also like to remind those who have been critics of the current leadership that working on unity within the party is a two-way street. So to those who have distanced themselves from the Republican Party of Iowa – you can stay home with your ball because you didn’t like the outcome of the last game (convention results) or you can join in. What is really gained if you stay home? Does it help Republicans get elected? I don’t believe so.
So whoever ends up being the chair on Saturday I’d encourage him and the members of the State Central Committee to focus on supporting all Republicans, address the strengthening the Iowa Caucus, continue to help craft a conservative message going into 2014, and work hard on fundraising (especially reaching out to former donors).