(Des Moines, IA) The Polk County Republican Party held their picnic at Jalapeno Pete’s at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Saturday, September 7, 2013.  They had numerous speakers including Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA) and four Republicans running to the their party’s nominee for U.S. Senate.  They were State Senator Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak), Former U.S. Attorney and Hawkeye Standout Matt Whitaker, Sioux City talk radio host Sam Clovis and Senator Chuck Grassley’s former chief of staff David Young.

Approximately 340 tickets were sold for the event, Daryl Kearney told Caffeinated Thoughts they had approximately $10,000 in advance sales.  There were approximately 90 who attended with afternoon temperatures reaching the 90s.

They served grilled hamburgers, chips, baked beans, cookies and ice cream.  Michael Young, the Republican nominee for the special election in House District 33, led in the pledge and spoke later during the event.  Pastor Jim Douglass, an associate pastor at Northridge Baptist Church, led the group in prayer.

Simon Conway of WHO Radio was the emcee for the event.  Conway explained the format for each U.S. Senate candidate, they were to be given four minutes to speak (only David Young kept to that) and were going to be asked four questions (two from the audience, two from Conway).

Tom Latham - Polk County Republicans

Congressman Latham said during his August town hall meetings he did not hear one person say to him that they were in favor of military action in Syria.  “It doesn’t make sense to retaliate an attack on innocent men, women and children by bombing innocent men, women and children,” Latham said.

Video of his full remarks is below:


With the four Senate candidates there was not much that separated them.  All said they opposed military action in Syria.  All of the candidates said they favored making the tax code flatter and/or fairer.  Matt Whitaker was the only candidate who expressed some doubt about the Fair Tax.  David Young said he liked the Fair Tax, but only if the 16th amendment was repealed so Congress could not pass an income tax along with a national consumption tax.

All said they’d be in favor of either drastically reducing the size of the IRS or cutting it completely.  There was some difference in opinion on whether the IRS was necessary with a Fair Tax or Flat Tax.  All advocated cutting the U.S. Department of Education.

Joni Ernst, Sam Clovis and Whitaker said they would pledge to voluntary term limit themselves to two terms (12 years).  Young said he favored a constitutional amendment that implemented term limits, but thought a Senator voluntarily term-limiting himself when other Senators are not doing the same could place Iowa at a disadvantage.

Joni Ernst spoke first.

Joni Ernst - Polk County GOP

Video of her remarks and Q&A is below:


Matt Whitaker was the second to speak.

Matt Whitaker - Polk County GOP Picnic

Video of his remarks and Q&A session is below:


Sam Clovis spoke next.

photo (9)

Video of his remarks and Q&A session is below.


David Young was the last U.S. Senate candidate to speak.

David Young - Polk County GOP

Video of his remarks and Q&A session is below:


State Representative John Landon (R-Ankeny) told Caffeinated Thoughts that he believed all four candidates gave good speeches and have different strengths with the experience they bring.  “Any of the four would be preferable over Bruce Braley,” Landon said.  He also said he believed that one candidate needs to float to the top before the June primary.

“We need to avoid a convention vote,” Landon added.  One of the candidates would have to win at least 35% of the vote to avoid having the nominee decided at the state convention.

Gregg Lynes of Runnells thought all of the candidates had good conservative values.  “Matt was very animated, and I expect nothing less.  I like Sam Clovis as he has good military experience.  I like Joni for the same reason.  Young hurt himself by not making the pledge to term-limit himself,” Lynes told Caffeinated Thoughts.

Michael Young, the Republican candidate running in the House District 33 special election, told Caffeinated Thoughts that he likes Whitaker, Ernst and Sam as he didn’t see much difference with the three.  “David Young is too much DC for me,” Michael Young added.

The Republicans running for U.S. Senate have another opportunity to woo Central Iowa voters at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Summer Party at Walnut Creek Community Church in Windsor Heights on Monday evening at 5:30p.

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