Libertarians at the Gate

Let’s face it, this election cycle, Ron Paul’s supporters have effectively taken over the Republican Party of Iowa. While they may not be a majority on the SCC, they are largest block and managed to elect one of their own, A.J. Spiker to the party chairmanship. In all four congressional districts, they dominated the district conventions and were able to control all of the key committees for the state convention. The state party is largely staffed with former Paul staffers and the Iowa delegation to the Republican National convention consists of 28 delegates, 23 of whom (according to are Paul supporters.

While I did not publicly endorse a candidate in the caucus, it is no secret that I was not a part of the Ron Paul revolution. I nominated Bill Schickel as RPI chair, I ran against the slated Ron Paul candidates for 1st district SCC at the district convention (I won) and ran against the incumbent National Committeeman from the Ron Paul slate at the state convention (I lost). As I have said before on these pages, the Paul supporters played by the rules. When the other campaigns (who had beaten Paul in the caucus straw poll) pulled up stakes and moved on, Paul’s people stayed engaged. They kept staff on the ground throughout the caucus to convention process, They organized and they got their people to show up at conventions and they prevailed. They played by the rules and they won fair and square.

Now I would argue that after the caucus, the Romney and Santorum campaigns moved on because they both were actually trying to win the nomination. They used their resources to run a 50 state campaign, while the Paul team focused on caucus states like Iowa.


Even so, I am bothered by the attempts by the RNC to further control the process from the national level. I was glad to see that they turned back a motion to increase the threshold for nomination at the convention from 5 states to 10. I find it outrageous that they would try to do such a thing in at the last minute. I am pleased to see that our three RNC members, Scheffler, Lehman and Spiker have been consistent in opposing these shenanigans. The proposal to bind delegates and further require them to have the approval of the national campaign is even worse. It remains to be seen what impact it would have but it could cost Iowa our First-in-the-Nation Caucus.

I believe that the grassroots should choose the delegates and the delegates should choose the nominee, not the other way around.


It wasn’t too long ago, that I can recall being a Christian at the Gate. Looking at the Republican establishment from the outside, fighting to add and then strengthen the pro-life position within our platform and among our leaders. We Christian evangelicals reached the height of our influence in 2008 when Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman were elected to the RNC.

One of the best things about Iowa GOP politics is that the direction of the party is controlled by the grassroots. It is easy to get involved and a group of like-minded people working together can make a difference in the direction of this party. As Iowa Republicans, even if we are not happy with the direction of the current leadership (or previous leadership, or future leadership) we should vigorously fight to keep the system in place that allows the grassroots to drive the process.

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