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March 29th, 2012

Woodbury County GOP Chair Endorses Primary Opponent for Sitting House Rep, Receives Backlash

Woodbury County GOP Chairman Brian Rosener has chosen sides in the Republican primary race that pits Iowa House representative Ron Jorgensen against challenger Matthew Ung. Rosener endorsed Ung earlier this week. He also quickly received backlash from some Sioux City area Republicans.

“I know Matthew Ung to be a true conservative with real integrity who will not back down on our God-given rights,” Rosener stated in a press release. “He will not buckle and sway on Constitutional principles even when the going gets tough. Matthew is a disciplined and dedicated man of faith and character, and I believe he is the best candidate to represent the Republican Party in Iowa’s House District 6.”

Responding to the endorsement announcement, one prominent Sioux City-area Republican sent this email to Rosener, which was obtained by


I am more than a little disappointed in the announcement I received this morning from Matthew about your public endorsement of him for the Iowa House.  It is clear to me that you did not heed much of what we discussed last week.  I think you are putting yourself in an untenable position as party chair for the county, and you will now run into some severe headwinds in getting anything done.  You have essentially violated any sense of neutrality that must be incumbent in a county chair.

If you are to endorse candidates for office, then I think you must do so without the mantle of the county chair ascribed to your name.  You have now raised the issue of you taking sides over an office, thus I must assume you are now willing to take the slings and arrows of the press and your fellow GOP members.  Rest assured, this will be a topic of discussion with a lot of folks outside of Woodbury County.  Your decision to take sides in a local campaign also indicates to me that you are not as trustworthy as I might have thought.  What you implied to me on the phone last week appears to not be the case at all.

I wish you luck as you go forward, but I want to assure you that I think you have chosen an extremely hazardous way to go.  You are no longer above the fray and by your actions have made being a Republican very difficult in Woodbury County.  Just so you know.

Chairman Rosener and some other social conservatives in the Sioux City area do not believe Jorgensen is “conservative enough”. His primary focus is fiscal issues. Jorgensen is a freshman legislator who also serves as the vice-president for Business and Finance at Morningside College. He was elected in 2010, filling the seat vacated by former House Speaker Christopher Rants.

This is not the first time Rosener has interjected into a GOP primary while serving as Woodbury County GOP chairman. He grilled Terry Branstad on gay marriage with “heated questions” during a stop in Sioux City during the 2010 gubernatorial primary.

Legislative hopeful Matthew Ung, 23 is a Sioux City native who works in healthcare administration. He has accused Jorgensen of compromising on pro-life issues. While Rosener’s decision to involve himself in a primary might not sit well with everyone on the Woodbury GOP central committee, Ung is thrilled to have his support.

“Brian has served with integrity for many years as the County Chair, and has shown his dedication to strengthening the Republican party platform with real conservative principles, principles I intend to emulate as state representative,” Ung said in a press release. “His stanch commitment to family values, his commitment to faith and good business practices is a great example to me, Woodbury County, and the state of Iowa.”

Jorgensen and Ung are competing for the Republican nomination in House District 6. The race is one of 26 contested GOP primaries in the Iowa House this year. Primary elections take place on June 5.

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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