Attorney General Tom Miller (on left) and Patrick Anderson

The filing deadline for the Iowa Republican Primary came and went, and Republicans did not have a candidate on the ballot on June 5th. The Republican Party of Iowa State Convention came and went, and the party did not nominate a candidate by a convention which surprised me.

Tom Miller, the 74-year-old Democrat incumbent Attorney General of Iowa who has been in office since 1979 (with the exception of one-term), was not going to have a Republican challenger. The Libertarian Party of Iowa did nominate a candidate to run against Miller, Marco Battaglia who lost that party’s gubernatorial primary to Jake Porter was nominated by their state convention, but Republicans did not field a candidate.

No candidate until last week when Mollie Tibbetts’ body was found and Des Moines area Patrick Anderson attempted to get on the ballot as a Republican by petition with a plan to run on enforcing immigration law.

Anderson launched a Facebook page (now deleted) on Thursday, August 23. The general election filing deadline was Saturday, August 25 at 5:00p.

His campaign posted:

Are you upset about the Mollie Tibbetts murder?
We are getting petitions to put an attorney general candidate on the ballot that will enforce our laws.
Patrick Anderson for Iowa Attorney General.

First, it was poor-taste to try to launch a campaign off the Tibbetts case. Politicizing that tragedy, especially right after the news broke, is just gross. 

Second, he wouldn’t technically be a Republican anyway. To be on the ballot as a Republican, he would have had to be nominated by primary or by convention. 

Third, he had two days to collect the minimum 1500 signatures from at least ten counties in two days. A candidate should have far more signatures than needed because some will invariably be thrown out. Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett learned that the hard way.

So it was no surprise when Anderson announced that he failed to turn in enough signatures and made the following post on Saturday evening:

It’s been a whirlwind week. A few of my friends learned of my regrets when I found out the Republican Party failed to nominate a candidate to challenge the awful public service of Tom Miller.

The recent tragedies lit a fire under people across the state. I was asked to run by some of my Republican friends and almost immediately the Republican Party of Iowa met to review the Iowa Code and party rules to determine how to make it happen.

The Iowa Code would not allow the State Central Committee to nominate an attorney general candidate and they could not come up with a method to reconvene the convention without violating the Iowa code or the rules of the Republican Party of Iowa. It was very important to me that I not be put into a candidacy for a position enforcing laws and rules and flouting them like Tom Miller. So the party assisted me in obtaining a nomination by petition as a GOP candidate.

Grassroots volunteers set up a Facebook page to seek out volunteers and within two days we managed to get petitions to the Secretary of States office before they closed.

I want to thank Governor Reynolds for her assistance in the effort. Her team and the activists that support her managed to collect support in 25 counties in two days and bring back petitions to Des Moines.

Our official total was 1300 after a couple hundred were out for a second review.

I do not anticipate the review being favorable. I thank everyone for their help. I am disappointed we couldn’t stand up to the corrupt official that refused to defend our laws but I am humbled by all the people who are ready for a change.

I think the code needs some review so the party is never again left without options ahead of the deadline. I also think the code needs to ensure that a candidate does not attempt to run again with the “GOP” in an attempt to spoil the strong grassroots and party activism of the Republican Party.

Thank you for your support. God bless!

Last week I saw very little in the way of support for Anderson. I would not have known about his “campaign” (if you can call it that) if it were not for the invitation to his Facebook page. 

This campaign was ill-advised. Shoddy, thrown-together efforts like these opportunistically built upon a family’s grieve never go well. If Anderson wants to run in the future, I encourage him to do it the right way: in the primary with a platform of ideas.

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