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September 25th, 2012

2012 Retention Campaign Begins Right Where It Left Off

By Craig Robinson

The FAMiLY Leader and a variety of other conservatives groups launched a 17 city bus tour on Monday to encourage people to oust Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins by voting no on the retention question on the November ballot.  Justice Wiggins was one of the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices who declared Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional in the spring of 2009.

All three of the justices who were up for retention in 2010 were ousted.  Not only did all three justices go down, but 90 of the state’s 99 counties voted to remove them from the court.  Just as was the case two years ago, as Election Day nears, the retention election is heating up.  Bob Vander Plaats and his allies won round one, but the Iowa Bar Association, the ACLU, and liberals across the state are desperate to get a win in November.

To understand the dynamics of the 2012 retention election, one has to understand why the 2010 anti-retention effort was successful.

1. The 2010 retention vote was an outlet for Iowa conservatives to vent their frustration.  Iowa Democrats may have enjoyed blocking Republican attempts to allow the people of Iowa to vote on a constitutional amendment to define marriage in the state, but that decision forced conservatives to find another outlet to have their voices heard, which was the retention process.

2. Many times in issue campaigns, the side that can make a simple and coherent message wins.  While the anti-retention folks talks about judicial activism, freedom, traditional values, and the simple instruction to vote no.  The other side makes a convoluted set of arguments.  The Iowa Bar Association repeatedly tells voters that a no vote is an improper use of the retention system, but then argue that Iowa’s system, which included a retention election, is the best in the nation.  The personalities of their opponents often distract the pro-retention campaign.  Bob Vander Plaats isn’t on the ballot, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to them.

3. Voter enthusiasm is also on the side of the anti-retention folks.  Most people in the state don’t have a clue who Justice David Wiggins is.  As the election nears, many will figure out that he is one of the reasons gay marriage is allowed in Iowa, which might not sit well.  Passion is a powerful thing in politics, and in the Iowa retention election, the passion is on the side of the opposition, mainly because the anti-retention campaign has successfully made judicial retention about gay marriage.

Monday’s launch of the “No Wiggins” bus tour seemed very familiar.  The anti-retention effort was on message.  The only difference from two years ago was that they were aided by the appearance of 2012 caucus winner, Rick Santorum.  Santorum got involved in the 2010 effort, but after winning the caucuses and a number of other states, he added more celebrity to the effort than he did in 2010.

From what I’ve seen thus far, Bob Vander Plaats and the anti-retention campaign is starting right were they left off in 2010.

Anti-King TV Ad Banned by Four Iowa TV Stations but Not the Des Moines Register

Three TV stations in Des Moines and one station in Sioux City are refusing to air a misleading ad by the Humane Society Legislative Fund.  The actions of the TV stations warrant news coverage, but the Des Moines Register’s inclusion of the video in its online news story is disappointing.  Why would the Des Moines Register feel the need to show their readers the misleading video?

The Register’s decision to include the video shouldn’t surprise anyone.  Its “News” department featured a Stephen Colbert segment as a top story on its website on the same subject back in August.

Iowa Reporter Causes Stir – Interview Makes SNL

Radio Iowa’s Kay Henderson made national news with her interview of Ann Romney last Tuesday.  When Henderson asked Mrs. Romney about Republicans who have been critical of her husband’s campaign, she said, “Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring.”

The interview was picked up by other news outlets the following day, and it was also noticed by the writers at Saturday Night Live.  Below are the two instances were Seth Meyers referenced the interview during SNL’s Weekend Update.

Photo by Dave Davidson –





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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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