Republican Party of Iowa Chair Danny Carroll
Photo Credit: Kevin Hall

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that we would see significant change to the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee after the District Conventions met.  Governor Terry Branstad’s efforts to remake the state party leadership were successful.  Not a single member representing the liberty faction of the party remains on the committee.

The new members are:

  • First District: Chelle Adkins, David Chung, Ron Herrig, and Loras Schulte
  • Second District: Bob Anderson, Trudy Caviness, Judy Davidson, and Jeff Kaufmann
  • Third District: Brenna Findley, Ryan Frederick, Bill Gustoff, and Sherill Whisenand
  • Fourth District: Gabe Haugland, Cody Hoefert, Jamie Johnson and Gary Nystrom

Anderson, Chung, Frederick, Hoefert, Johnson, Schulte, and Whisenand are the only district-elected members who are returning to the State Central Committee. Tamara Scott and Steve Scheffler’s term as the National Committeewoman and Committeeman is not up until 2016. The chair and co-chair of the party serves at the pleasure of the state central committee, and there is speculation that Danny Carroll’s term as chair of the party may be short-lived.

That will remain to be seen.

There are strong opinions about today’s vote.  I’m not thrilled or disappointed.    I’m pleased to see Bill Gustoff and Gabe Haugland be elected and I believe both will make excellent additions to the committee.  I’m personally glad to see David Chung, Cody Hoefert, and Jamie Johnson back on the committee.  I’m not thrilled with Jamie’s behavior this weekend though, more on that later.  I like Brenna Findley and I supported her Attorney General campaign.  She should be an asset to the committee.  I know some are concerned about her being a member of Governor Branstad’s staff, but I believe her to be an independent person so that shouldn’t matter.  Sherill Whisenand has shown competency as the Polk County GOP co-chair.  Anderson, Frederick, and Schulte will continue with their service and their district delegates are obviously happy with the job they are doing.

The only disappointment for me personally is with the 2nd District, and only because those elected were part of an “approved slate.”  I know the Ron Paul folks did that in 2012, and I can’t say I’m a fan when anybody does that.  If you are going to take the time to be a delegate at the District Convention you should do your homework on candidates.  I can’t say I’m a fan of former State Representative Jeff Kaufmann, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a competent member of the committee.

The state party is now theirs to lead.  We’ll see how they do.  While the last committee was over-represented by those in the liberty wing, not having them represented is a mistake as well, but it’s clear they were not as well organized this time around and those opposing them were.

I’m going to give this committee the benefit of the doubt, wish them the very best and hope that they do well.  I did the same with the previous committee and chair.  I would suspect, however, that this committee can expect the same amount of support from the liberty wing as the establishment wing gave the liberty wing when they were running the show which is nil and none.

We’ll see if this committee will take the same advice that was given to the previous leadership that is to be more inclusive which means finding ways to engage the liberty wing.  It would be petty to not do so, not to mention, hypocritical.  As the golden rule states, “do unto others, as you’d have them do unto you.”  Likewise those in the liberty wing should give the new committee a chance regardless of what was done.

Let’s put the political games and the ugliness behind us.

So far we haven’t gotten off on the right foot.

When National Committeeman Steve Scheffler learned about the results of the 4th District vote he said “Wonderful!  A first defeat for BVP.”  Screen capture provided by Jacob Hall below:


That was in poor taste.  This was in response to The FAMiLY Leader publishing an endorsement list for the State Central Committee.  First leaving Cody Hoefert, Jamie Johnson and David Chung off this list was a mistake.  Second I don’t for the life of me understand why they would want to wade into party politics like this.  I assume it was to safeguard Danny Carroll’s position, but they shouldn’t have intervened for precisely that reason. Only two of their endorsees was elected – Bill Gustoff and Gabe Haugland.

Then came Johnson’s response to the slight. (Screenshot form Jacob Hall)


Hoefert to his credit didn’t want any part of this.  This was petty snark by Johnson and he should rise above.

When the new committee is in place at the fall of the gavel at the state convention I’d also caution against doing anything in a knee-jerk reactionary fashion.  There are some who want Danny Carroll replaced as Chair immediately.  I’m not going to be a Danny Carroll apologist, but I believe he should be given a chance, especially with the midterm elections coming upon us so quickly.  Carroll should also do some bridge building with those members who were not endorsed.  Carroll, however, should step up fundraising.  Some struggle may clear up with the new committee, but he also may need to make some staffing changes as well in order to demonstrate good faith.  However that decision should be made on performance, not on what faction of the party the staff belongs to.

Now the ball is in their court.  Let’s see where they take us.

Update: Earlier today Jamie Johnson gave a formal apology to The FAMiLY Leader.

Yesterday, after being re-elected to the State Central Committee of the Republican Party of Iowa, I posted (and later removed) a terse statement directed at Bob Vander Plaats, Chuck Hurley, and Greg Baker. I felt slighted that after many years of working on pro-life and pro-family issues they did not support my candidacy. My words were uncharitable and inconsistent with Christian brotherhood, and I regret that in my frustration I lashed out at them. I ask everyone to forgive me for making public a matter that I should have dealt with privately.

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