David Young won the Republican Iowa 3rd Congressional District nomination on the 5th ballot at a special nominating convention that was called as a result of no candidate reaching the 35% threshold in the primary.  Young came in fifth on primary night with 15.6%.  He edged out State Senator Brad Zaun at the convention on the 5th ballot 276 (53.8%) to 221 (43.1%).  Zaun was the top vote getter on primary night with 24.6% of the vote and led every ballot up to that point.

3,895 votes separated the two on primary night.

The first ballot was won by Zaun.

  1. Zaun – 130 (25.3%)
  2. Monte Shaw – 118 (23%)
  3. Matt Schultz – 95 (18.5%)
  4. Young – 86 (16.8%)
  5. Robert Cramer – 75 (14.6%)
  6. Joe Grandanette – 7 (1.3%)

The first ballot was just a straw poll so no candidate dropped off at that point.  We saw little change in positions with the second ballot, but Zaun and Shaw were the only candidates to gain votes.

  1. Zaun – 157 (30.8%)
  2. Shaw – 122 (23.9%)
  3. Schultz – 88 (17.3%)
  4. Young – 81 (15.9%)
  5. Cramer – 60 (11.8%)
  6. Grandanette 2 (0.4%)

Grandanette was dropped off the second ballot.  Cramer withdrew his name before the 3rd ballot was taken, but he didn’t endorse anyone.  He just encouraged delegates to vote their conscience.

In the 3rd ballot Young and Schultz flipped.

  1. Zaun – 188 (37.5%)
  2. Shaw – 126 (25.1%)
  3. Young – 102 (20.4%)
  4. Schultz – 85 (17%)

Schultz bled off 10 delegates from the 1st ballot, and he was removed from the ballot.  Zaun and Young gained the most from Cramer bowing out.  Young yielded some of his time to Schultz.  Schultz ended up endorsing Young who then passed Shaw in the 4th ballot.  Caffeinated Thoughts was told by a source close to the Schultz campaign that the two men agreed to endorse the other should one of them come in last.  The Schultz campaign thought it was going to be Young.

Young picked up almost all of Schultz’s delegates, which is unusual.

  1. Zaun – 206 (41.4%)
  2. Young – 171 (34.4%)
  3. Shaw – 120 (24.1%)

Shaw plateaued at 126 delegates… after all of the speculation that he was going to come away with the nomination it was all for naught.  Shaw did well in the outlaying counties, but he never gained traction in Polk County.  Young moved into second place in Polk County in the 4th ballot with 80 votes compared to Shaw’s 51.  Zaun had 121.  In Dallas County Young moved ahead and lead that county with 29 votes compared to Shaw’s 14 and Zaun’s 11.

It was unlikely that Zaun was going to win a majority of  Shaw voters.  Zaun was not the type of candidate they would gravitate to, and only 15 of them did which gave Young the victory with 276 delegates (53.8%) to Zaun’s 221 (43.1%).

Young won the delegates in Adair, Adams, Cass, Dallas, Guthrie, Madison, Mills, Montgomery, Pottawattamie, Ringgold, and Union.  Zaun and Young tied among the Polk County delegation with 126 delegates so the smaller counties decided this contest.  Zaun only picked up four Polk County delegates from the 4th ballot.

Many were surprised by the result.  Even Young pointed out the odds in his final remarks to the convention.  Looking at the Caffeinated Thoughts poll that was taken of delegates gives us an indication regarding what happened.  Out of the 118 out of 513 delegates that took the survey Zaun and Young tied.  It didn’t mirror the first or second ballot, but it gave an indication that Young had more support among delegates that what many politicos and pundits gave him credit for, and it accurately predicated the top two.  What sheds light on this development with David Young, in this poll, was when delegates were asked who their second choice was  Young was the decisive leader with 34%.  Zaun had 17%.  It is likely if we polled people’s 3rd choice he would have been strong as well.

Being somebody’s 2nd and 3rd choice in a crowded field that is being winnowed with each ballot is huge.  Another factor in this decision is that David Young is extremely likable.  He did not attack any of his opponents.  He’s represented a conservative position. He’s an evangelical Christian.  He has experience working with and has the trust of Senator Chuck Grassley.  Add that to Shaw’s plateau with delegates and his electability argument fell on deaf ears, as well as, Schultz’s endorsement that put him over the top.

Young told Caffeinated Thoughts after his victory, “There was always a hope that we could do this.  I don’t think the odds were in my favor at the very beginning, but as it played out it increased our chances.”

He addressed those Republicans who didn’t vote for him on primary night.  “We hit the reset button,” he said.  He noted that his opponents in the primary were going to rally behind him.  “I always told them whoever won we have to get behind, and they always agreed.  He said the issues he talks about should be appealing to independents and conservative Democrats… such as fiscal issues, the economy, government accountability having Senator Grassley on his resume should all help.  Earlier when he was speaking he noted that he didn’t have any baggage, and that the greatest weakness that some attributed to him, working for Grassley, was his greatest strength.

“I was really disappointed and surprised.  What really hurt me in the end was when Schultz endorsed Young and asked all of his people to go with him.  That’s what really hurt me bad, but I accept the decision of the delegates and I am going to be behind David Young and I congratulated him.  He’s a wonderful man.  I will fight like heck to make sure he’s our next Congressman,” Zaun told Caffeinated Thoughts.

Later tonight in an email sent to supporters Young said:

Thank you so much for your confidence in me.  I am honored and humbled to have received the support of the delegates at today’s convention.”

Ours is a true comeback story – proof that grassroots campaigns and hard work pay off.

It was a privilege to run in a field of extraordinary candidates.  They are good men who worked hard.  They’re my friends.

Now, on to victory in November.  We have to continue working hard and promoting our message of optimism for the future of America.

The general election begins today.

“Iowans in the Third Congressional District had an exceptional slate of candidates to choose from today and I commend all of them for their hard work,” said Governor Terry Branstad said in a released statement. “I’m pleased to have David Young join the strong Republican ticket. Iowans want a representative like David who will take Iowa values to Washington, not marching orders from Nancy Pelosi. David is knowledgeable, hard-working, listens to Iowans and treats everyone with dignity and respect. He’s a ideal candidate to represent the Third Congressional District.”

“I congratulate all the candidates who spent countless hours sharing their vision with Iowans in the Third Congressional District,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds added in the same press release. “David’s commitment to job creation, balancing our nation’s budget, reducing the debt and eliminating burdensome regulations will serve Iowans well in Congress.”

“David Young has served Iowa admirably as a top staffer to Senator Chuck Grassley. David understands what his fellow Iowans look for in an elected official and will bring much needed leadership to Congress,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden.  “I congratulate David Young on his victory and look forward to helping him win in November.”

Some reaction from Twitter:

Young joked that he could share a sign with Joni Ernst… Ernst and Young the accountability firm.


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  1. I don’t care how “like able” David Young is, I think this system is flawed! Let me be more blunt I think it sucks! Sounds like some good ole boy crap! I’ll have to support this, only because of my distrust of all Demacrooks, but it is not right!

  2. As a 3rd District delegate, and one who went to the Nominating Convention as a Young supporter but hadn’t finalized that choice until the last couple of weeks, and frankly, went expecting to have to switch to my second or third choice, I can assure you it was not “good ‘ol boy crap”. It was a well fought and thoroughly democratic process.
    If there is anything in the above and the comments that addresses what really happened it is Shane’s comment that David was many of the Delegates 2nd choice, and the comment that nominating conventions are about “who has the least enemies”. Like it or not, Young outlasted other candidates who had more “issues” of personality or comments that could be used against them.
    He also significantly stepped up his speaking at the Convention compared to many of the interviews and speeches he gave during the primary campaign. At the Convention he proved not only that he is level-headed and intelligent, but that he can be passionate when he needs to be.
    If it is true that he and Schultz had agreed beforehand to support each other if one was knocked out, that should reassure any Schultz supporters who fear David Young isn’t “conservative” enough.
    Young is intelligent, articulate and consistent. On the “issues” there was frankly not much between the candidates in this primary, so electability IS a valid concern. David will be far harder to caricature than some of the other candidates, and he will have Grassley 100% behind him – and Grassley has repeatedly won 65 – 70% of the vote, meaning he has picked up independents and conservative Democrats. David can do the same.

  3. Many of us in Fremont County will vote for the Democrat to send a message to the corrupt state party that if it refuses the peoples will and only represents elite fat cats, then we also will turn our backs. Realistically, the party is dead. 2008 and 2012 were final warnings that a big government, big business party has no viability. Ignore us further and we will be there with pitchforks to respond to the pro amnesty Norquist-led “Mainstreet” elites.

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