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October 27th, 2009

Palin Headed to Iowa?

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Written by: Craig Robinson
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Palin in has learned that former Alaska Governor and Vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin could be the featured speaker for the Iowa Family Policy Center’s fall fundraiser in Des Moines on November 21. The appearance would be Palin’s first in Iowa since the 2008 campaign and would come just four days after her book, “Going Rogue: An American Life” hits bookstores.

In an ironic twist, Palin’s appearance would occur just across the street from the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner, which will be held at Hy-Vee Hall. The Iowa Family Policy Center was originally scheduled to hold its event at Hy-Vee Hall, but IFPC was asked to relocate once the Iowa Democratic Party confirmed Vice President Biden as its keynote speaker. As a consolation, the Iowa Events Center reportedly offered IFPC Action the 16,000 seat Wells Fargo Arena at a greatly reduced rate.

What was an inconvenience has now becomes a tremendous opportunity for the Iowa Family Policy Center and Sarah Palin herself. Both Palin and IFPC Action have been willing to take political risks to promote the principles for which they stand. Palin’s apparent selection of IFPC’s event as her first foray into Iowa is a perfect match.

The possibility that Sarah Palin will be on stage in Wells Fargo Arena at the same time as Vice President Biden speaks in Hy-Vee Hall would once again bring the national spotlight back to Iowa. The event would also become an opportunity for conservatives, Republicans, and traditional marriage supporters to send a strong message to Vice President Biden and the Democrats gathered across the street by turning out in the thousands.

The appearance would fit Palin’s persona of having incredible timing and a knack for delivering must-see theatrics. While Palin has her critics, nobody would question her ability to wow a crowd like she did at the 2008 Republican National Convention or deliver outstanding one-liners like she did during the vice-presidential debates with Biden.

A number of potential presidential candidates have made their way to Iowa or are planning trips to the first in the nation caucus state soon. Tim Pawlenty is slated to be the keynote speaker for the Republican Party of Iowa’s fall fundraiser on November 7th, Mike Huckabee has scheduled book signings in advance of his new Christmas book release next month, and Ron Paul is headed to Ames for a Campaign for Liberty Rally and a fundraiser for State Senate candidate Kent Sorenson also in November. While these visits will all garner media attention, none of them will dominate the news cycle like Sarah Palin will if she goes head-to-head with Biden and the Democrats on November 21.

What makes Palin’s visit to Iowa different from the other presidential hopefuls is that her appearance will help IFPC as an organization as much as it will help her sell books or pave the way for her own presidential run. IFPC is in the midst of launching a multi-faceted initiative to pass an amendment to the Iowa constitution defining marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. In Iowa, the amendment process is time consuming and may involve electing more pro-family conservatives to office. Through its LUV Iowa campaign, IFPC is organizing new political activists all across the state, including people who have never been involved in the political process but are now organizing to apply pressure to the Iowa Legislature.

Under the leadership of its new chairman, Danny Carroll, the Iowa Family Policy Center has shown itself to be the preeminent pro-family organization in the state. In April, following the Iowa Supreme Court’s opinion recognizing gay marriages, IFPC rallied hundreds of people at the State Capitol and mobilized its activists to contact their legislators. This past summer, it held a gubernatorial candidate forum in which four candidates participated.

IFPC’s ability to attract some of the biggest names in politics to keynote its fall fundraisers is the biggest sign that IFPC is a major player in Iowa politics. If it lands Palin as its keynote speaker, it will the second year in a row that the hottest name in national politics didn’t opt to speak to the Republican Party, but to a pro-family group in Iowa. Last November, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal spoke at the fall IFPC event.

IFPC’s emergence on the political scene is not likely to be a flash in the pan. As the 2012 Iowa caucuses loom, it will be IFPC that will wield influence over the state’s social conservatives, perhaps even more so than other pro-family organizations that have been influential in the past.

Palin’s likely visit to Iowa is a brilliant move for her to make. She couldn’t go anywhere else and get the news coverage she will receive if she ends up across the street from Vice President Joe Biden in the first in the nation caucus state. While every other potential GOP presidential candidate is trying to figure out how to navigate Iowa’s presidential waters with caution, it looks like Sarah Palin is about to do what she does best – go rogue.

Palin is a good fit for IFPC in that it, like Palin, is confronting political power on both sides of the aisle in an effort to make a difference in some of the most important issues of the day. And in Iowa, that means the marriage amendment is front and center.

The Iowa Family Policy Center and Sarah Palin are a perfect match.

You just have to love Iowa politics.

Update: IFPC Action, the more political 501(c)4 is listed as the host of the event on their press release.

Photo by Dave Davidson

IFPC sent out the following press release last night:


10/27/09 Pleasant Hill, IA – In response to media inquiries, Iowa Family Policy Center ACTION President Chuck Hurley responded today to questions concerning a potential appearance by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at an upcoming IFPC Action event.

According to Hurley, “We have reached out to Governor Palin through both official and informal channels and extended an invitation for her to keynote our annual fundraising event.” He went on to say, “We are not yet ready to confirm the specifics, but are hopeful that all the details can be worked out for her to come.”

IFPC Action began soliciting financial support for the event this week in anticipation of the Governor’s potential visit. Responding to questions raised by preliminary fundraising for the event, Hurley said the event, scheduled for November 21st, would be “on a much larger scale than our banquet last November,” and that “we are preparing now to make sure the Governor’s visit is a huge success should she accept our invitation.”

IFPC Action welcomed Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on his first trip to Iowa when he spoke at last year’s event. Previous IFPC Action speakers include Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

Should Palin accept the invitation, her appearance at the IFPC Action event would mark her first trip to Iowa since she traveled the state as the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee.

Bryan M. English
Iowa Family Policy Center ACTION
Phone (515) 263-3495
Fax (515) 263-3498
Cell (515) 210-7475

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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