More than 450 people turned out for the 2nd Annual Ronald Reagan Dinner in Scott County Tuesday night. The event featured both members of the Republican ticket for governor, Terry Branstad and Kim Reynolds. Also in attendance were Brenna Findley, Dave Jamison, Matt Schultz, and a host of local candidates running in the area.
This is the second year in a row that the Scott County Party has pulled off a tremendous event. Last year, the event featured former New York Governor George Pataki. That event drew an impressive 350 people.
This year’s event featured former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. In the past year, the County Party has raised over $90,000 for their efforts, an impressive feat for any county organization and a clear sign of the Republican resurgence in eastern Iowa.
The Scott County GOP has used some of those funds to produce the following ad.
In addition to people emailing the video to their friends and family, the county party is also going to air it on television.
Matt Schultz, Dave Jamison, and Brenna Findley were all in attendance and briefly spoke to the crowd about their campaigns. Schultz focused his remarks on his plan to make people who register to vote on Election Day cast a provisional ballot so that their information can be verified before their vote is counted. Jamison used his remarks to highlight how Treasurer Fitzgerald has failed Iowans. Findley said it’s time to criticize Attorney Tom Miller for missing a deadline that let two convicted sex offenders walk free. She also pledged to join the federal lawsuit opposing Obamacare.
Ben Lange, the Republican Congressional candidate in the 1st District was greeted with a standing ovation. Lange thanked the people of Scott County for believing in his campaign when everyone else was writing it off. Lange then criticized his opponent, Democrat Congressman Bruce Braley. He also noted that Vice President Joe Biden is coming to campaign for Braley on Friday. Lange said that the Vice President’s visit to eastern Iowa is just validation of how far his campaign has come.
Kim Reynolds then addressed the crowd and introduced Terry Branstad. Branstad received a tremendous welcome from Scott County Republicans. While talking to TheIowaRepublican.com before the event, Branstad said that he is confident that he will do well in eastern Iowa. For the past decade, Republicans have struggled in the area. Branstad pointed to his big margins in the primary in places like Scott and Clinton Counties. He expects Scott County to come through for him with big numbers on Tuesday night.
Branstad continued his theme that state government has grown too big and costs too much under Governor Culver and the Democrats. He also criticized Culver for the various scandals that plague state government and blamed Culver for the property tax increases that people received in September. Branstad said the increase is a result of Culver’s reckless 10% across-the-board cuts.
The keynote speaker was Mitt Romney. Romney won Scott County in the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. He also received a very friendly welcome from those in attendance. Romney gave a stock speech. In fact, it was the exact same speech that he gave at the Des Moines library this past March.
Des Moines Register columnist, Kathie Obradovich, seemed aggravated over Romney’s lack of new material at his stop in Cedar Rapids earlier that day. Sadly, the same was true in Davenport. It’s not that some of the material was old, it’s that the entire speech and its delivery has not changed in seven month.
Romney told jokes about being mistaken for John Kerry at an airport. He told the joke about thinking people were taking his picture at the Beijing Olympics only to find out Kobe Bryant was sitting behind him. Even the more serious parts of his speech were old. The story about how companies resemble their founders is something we have heard before. It’s a valid point, but nothing new or interesting. Even the story about visiting the troops in the Middle East was recycled.
The people at the event obviously liked his speech, but, while entertaining, it lacked substance. Having covered numerous potential presidential candidates as they travelled the state to help Iowa Republicans, none have been as void of new material as Mitt Romney was on Tuesday night.
It’s not as if nothing significant has happened in the past seven months. We are at the cusp a monumental sea change in American politics, and the only new thing Romney added to his speech was that there are a number of ethnically diverse Republican candidates who are going to win next Tuesday. Good for them, but how about letting us know why it is important for Republicans to win big in 2010.
Romney’s speech was underwhelming for the caliber of event that the Scott County Republicans were able to pull off. The people there enjoyed his jokes and stories, but what they needed was a reason to dig deep and finish the campaign strong. Thankfully the local candidates did a good job of doing just that.
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