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May 24th, 2012
 

Four Candidates Emerge to be Republican Committeeman in Iowa

By Craig Robinson and Kevin Hall

Every four years, delegates to the Republican Party of Iowa’s state convention elect one man and one woman to represent them on the Republican National Committee.  As the June 16th convention in Des Moines nears, campaigning for those positions is starting to begin.

Four candidates have emerged in the race to become Iowa Republican National Committeeman.  The incumbent Steve Scheffler from West Des Moines, Tea Party activist Judd Saul from Cedar Falls, 1st District State Central Committee member David Chung from Cedar Rapids, and Republican donor Robert Cramer from Grimes.

National Committeeman Candidates

Steve Scheffler

Steve Scheffler has served on the Iowa GOP State Central Committee for the last two decades.  For the last four years, he has served as the Republican National Committeeman.  Scheffler also leads the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, which was originally called the Christian Coalition of Iowa.  The group is once again affiliated with Ralph Reed.

As National Committeeman, Scheffler has been an active member of the Republican National Committee.  He was an early supporter of current RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.  He was a key backer of a “purity” resolution following the Dede Scozzafava fiasco.  He has also involved himself in other conservative causes and policies like opposing the national popular vote initiative.

The one area where Scheffler has not been as active is in helping Iowa maintain its First-in-the-Nation status.  In an effort to get re-elected, Scheffler has been helpful to the supporters of Ron Paul.  His coziness could help Paul earn a majority of the Iowa delegates that will go to the national convention in Tampa.  If that happens, Iowa will essentially have had three different winners from the caucuses.  Not only would the Iowa delegation voting for Ron Paul provide another black eye to the Iowa Caucuses, but it could make retaining Iowa’s privileged status much more difficult than it already is.

Judd Saul

Judd Saul, 32, was the first candidate to announce his challenge to Scheffler’s position this year. Saul is an outspoken Tea Party activist from Black Hawk County. He is involved with the Cedar Valley Tea Party and Patriots for Christ groups. Saul has been openly campaigning for the National Committeeman role and distributed a letter to be read at several county conventions promoting his candidacy.

Judd Saul has been very critical of Steve Scheffler, particularly on social media. Saul posted accusations against Scheffler on the Facebook pages of several prominent Iowa Republicans. “Steve Scheffler has been going around asking for very hefty donations to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition in the price range of 10-20k,” Saul wrote in late January. “To sweeten the deal he offers a near guaranteed seat to the National Convention. He has a Top List in which he hands out to his supporters and tells them to vote for who is on the list. He has been doing this all over Iowa for far too long. It is time to get rid of the corruption in the state of Iowa.”

Saul also says his mother was offered such a deal.

David Chung

David Chung officially announced his candidacy for National Committeeman Wednesday night. Chung is from Linn County. He was recently reelected to his third term on the State Central Committee, representing the First Congressional District. “If I am elected to the RNC, the only special interest group that I will be beholden to is you, the Republican Party of Iowa,” Chung wrote on his blog Wednesday while announcing his candidacy.

Chung has openly avoided the conflict of interest involved with serving on the State Central Committee and working for a candidate in a primary or caucus. During the 2010 gubernatorial primary, Chung resigned his position on the SCC to help Christian Fong’s campaign. He also authored an “ethics amendment” which will be voted on at the state convention. David Chung is also an outspoken critic of Iowa’s delegate selection process and has worked to do away with the Friday night District Nominating Conventions.

Robert Cramer

Robert Cramer is a Des Moines businessman, former President of the Associated General Contractors of Iowa, and a longtime conservative donor.  Cramer is a Co-President of Cramer and Associates, a Des Moines based bridge building company.  He is a 1990 Construction Engineering graduate from Iowa State and has his professional license in Civil Engineering.  Cramer is responsible for the estimating, engineering, and management of the office.

Cramer’s political involvement is that of a donor to a number of candidates over the years.  His most recent contributions to state candidates include, Mullen for Senate, Iowa Family PAC, Maxwell for State House, Friends of Helland, and the Polk County GOP.  He has also financially supported Brenna Findley, Sen. Kent Sorenson, Rep. Scott Raecker, Rep. Chris Hagenow, Rep. Chip Baltimore, Bob Vander Plaats, Bill Northey, the Republican Party of Iowa, and Governor Terry Branstad in the general election.  As for federal candidates, Cramer has backed Congressman Steve King, Congressman Tom Latham, Senator Grassley, Brad Zaun, Kim Schmett, and Bill Dix.

Cramer will need to work hard to introduce himself to Republican activists, but his donor history indicates that he could be a consensus builder.  Cramer has also been financially supportive to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition.  In 2009, he served as the master of ceremonies at their annual spring kick-off event.  Many came away from that event impressed by Cramer.

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