In the wake of the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision that opened the door to same-sex marriage in our state, there has been plenty of chatter here in Iowa and nationally about what the decision means for the Iowa Caucuses. Iowa Republicans are once again slated to kick off their nominating process in Iowa in 2012, which means potential candidates will be showing up in Iowa sooner rather than later to lend us a “helping hand.”
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee have already visited the state since Election Day. Gov. Jindal was in Iowa to help the Iowa Family Policy Center, and Huckabee made a swing through Iowa to promote his new book. Just recently, the American Future Fund, a national conservative group based in Iowa, announced that they are holding a conservative lecture series that will begin this Wednesday.
The series will kick off on Wednesday night at Drake University. Former New York Governor George Pataki will present, “Yes We Still Can: Why Washington Has Failed, and How We Can Reclaim America’s Future.” Pataki spent considerable time meeting the people of Iowa in 2005 and 2006. Many Iowans expected Pataki to run for President in 2008. In the fall of 2006, Pataki assembled a well-respected group of political operatives to work in Iowa for his 21st Century Freedom PAC.
The list of people who backed Pataki early on included former State Senator Stewart Iverson, Ed Failor, Jr.(President of Iowans for Tax Relief), Loras Schulte (Former RPI State Central Committee member and well respected social conservative), Craig Schoenfeld (Campaign veteran, and Iowa lobbyist), Erik Helland (now a State Representative), Jo-Ellen Hill (Ted Sporer’s wife, Ted was a SCC member and Polk County Chairman at the time), and Noreen Bush (who is now Rep. Kraig Paulsen’s Chief of Staff).
Pataki seemed to have a lot of the necessary pieces in the summer of 2006, but one by one they all left his leadership PAC in the fall of that year, many of them ending up with Senator John McCain’s campaign.
The American Future Fund also released dates for two other lectures. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) will speak in Sioux City on June 1, and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) will appear in Dubuque on Oct. 1. The series will provide an excellent opportunity for potential 2012 candidates to come to Iowa and test the waters. The series will also provide Iowans with an early, unvarnished look at some of the politicians who want to be part of national discussion as Republicans start to look for a presidential candidate to support in 2012.
National political pundits have begun to speculate on what type of impact the court’s ruling will have on the caucuses. Overwhelmingly, these pundits all agree that the court’s decision will force Republican presidential hopefuls to the right.
I agree with the national pundits that our presidential candidates will have to address the gay marriage issue. However, I think it is inaccurate to say that the only thing that Iowa Republicans will care about in 2012 is passing a marriage amendment to the Iowa Constitution. One only needs to attend a presidential campaign event in Iowa to see proof that Iowans care about a number of issues facing our country. I also think it’s a safe bet that, no matter where these candidates spend their time campaigning between now and the Iowa Caucuses, the issue of gay marriage will be on minds of primary and caucus voters all across America.
Case in point would be Pataki’s home state of New York. New York Gov. David Paterson was recently joined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at a news conference announcing plans to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. It doesn’t matter if these candidates are campaigning in California, New York, or Iowa, the issue of same-sex marriage will be one that they will have to address.
The Iowa Republican will be covering the American Future Fund Lecture Series from start to finish. If you would like to attend one of these events, their contact information is located below.
American Future Fund Lecture Series
Featuring Former New York Governor George Pataki
Wednesday, April 22, 2009, 7 p.m.
Drake University Law School
Cartright Hall, Room 213
2621 Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa
More information about the American Future Fund can be found by visiting their website: www.AmericanFutureFund.com
American Future Fund
4225 Fleur Drive, #142
Des Moines, IA 50321
Phone: (515) 720-5250
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