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November 8th, 2012

Schneider Wins SD 22 Nominating Convention (Video and Live Blog)

West Des Moines City Councilman Charles Schneider is the Republican nominee for Iowa Senate District 22. Schneider prevailed over five other candidates during a special nominating convention Thursday night. He emerged with the majority of votes on the second ballot.

“I’m just very grateful for all the people who helped me and supported me and I’m really just humbled,” Schneider told TheIowaRepublican. “We had some great candidates here tonight. Any one of them would have run a great campaign and I’m just honored to have the privilege to represent them in this senate race.”

Schneider said he had a feeling he was among the top tier of candidates. Most delegates TIR spoke to considered Schneider and Isaiah McGee the frontrunners and the voting represented that. Schneider vowed to get to work immediately on his senate campaign and plans to start doorknocking in the district very soon.

TheIowaRepublican live blogged the convention. You can read that below:

Greetings and welcome to TIR’s live blog of the GOP’s nominating convention for Senate District 22. Tonight’s winner will face Democrat Desmund Adams in a special election on December 11. The GOP slot opened when State Senator Pat Ward passed away last month.

There are six known candidates for the convention, with the possibility of more joining tonight. The six announced candidates are Scott Cirksena, Greg Hudson, Isaiah McGee, Connie Schmett, Charles Schneider and John Ward. You can read more about each candidate by clicking here. Windsor Heights Pastor Terry Amann confirmed this afternoon that he is not running.

I will provide updates as things transpire this evening. Hit “REFRESH” often for updates.

The convention gets underway at 7pm at Republican Party of Iowa headquarters.

6:33pm – The room is already filling up. That are a lot of interested onlookers here, mainly longtime conservative activists. Lots of talk about who the favorites are. There are varying opinions. I’ve had several delegates tell me they are undecided and want to see what each candidate has to say. John Ward, the widower of Pat Ward, is the sentimental favorite, but that does not mean he will collect the most votes.

6:38 pm – Delegates tell me all six candidates have been working them pretty hard. Candidate Connie Schmett told me she was focusing on Tuesday’s elections and did not campaign as much as she would have like to. Schmett was involved with the Women for Romney coalition.

6:41 pm – Among the attendees here that are not delegates: former Polk GOP Chair Ted Sporer, State Senator Jack Whitver, Don McDowell, who works for the Iowa Senate Republicans, newly elected Iowa House Representative Rob Taylor (who is a delegate), as well as Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart.

6:45 pm – The convention will be called to order by Republican Party of Iowa Legal Council Bill Talbot and Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee Member Wes Enos will serve as Secretary. Polk and Dallas County Central Committee members who represent precincts in Senate District 22 are eligible to be voting delegates at the convention. There are a total of 64 delegates, if they all show up.

6:46 pm – It’s kind of a madhouse in here right now. The room is full and everyone is mingling and talking. Loudly. Media present include WHO-TV 13 and the Des Moines Register.

6:49 pm – I’m told there was a canvassing board meeting this afternoon in the race between State Rep. Chris Hagenow and Susan Judkins. Hagenow’s lead shrunk from 29 to 22 after absentee and provisional ballots were counted. The Republicans feel pretty confident Hagenow’s lead will hold.

6:52 pm – Some of the prominent delegates: Steve King campaign director Jake Ketzner, former Iowa College Republican State Chair Natalie Ginty, “Tea Party” Charlie Gruschow, Chad Airhart and Rob Taylor.

6:56 pm – It’s safe to say there’s more excitement in this room right now than there was at the Republican election night gathering at the Embassy Suites on Tuesday.

7:00 pm – Well, it’s kickoff time but there are no signs that we’re ready to call the convention to order. More media here as well. Gary Barrett from WHO Radio and I believe someone from WOI-TV, and Art Smith from The Conservative Reader.

7:02 pm – More luminaries on hand as well. David Oman, the Romney campaign co-chair is in attendance. Jeff Mullen, who lost to Pat Ward in the primary is also on hand.

7:04 pm – It looks like they’re trying to call the meeting to order here in the next couple of minutes.

7:05 pm – Senate Republican Leader Jerry Behn is also on hand, as well as former Polk GOP Chairman John Bloom.

7:06 pm – It looks like I might have to move. I set up in the back but there seem to be as many onlookers as there are delegates, and my view is blocked.

7:09 pm – OK, it’s game time. Just did the opening prayer and Pledge of Allegiance. Chairman AJ Spiker says they have extended the lease on the GOP Victory over through mid-December, in preparation for the December 11 special election.

7:10 pm – RPI will donate $1,000 to the winner. They’re also passing around the “buck bag” for everyone to contribute to the winner.

7:11 pm – Convention Chair Bill Talbot now addressing the room.

7:12 pm – Talbot is the legal counsel for RPI. He’s now discussing the rules before he officially calls it to order.

7:13 pm – Only credentialed delegates can make nominations. Nominees need to prove they live in the district. We are not doing seconds on nominations. Following Roberts Rules of Order.

7:14 pm – One of the delegates is making a point that “an officer of the state” cannot be elected. I believe that as long as that person resigns before the election, or before taking office, it’s acceptable. The nominee must receive the majority vote. If not a majority by the second ballot, the lowest vote count nominee will be eliminated, and it will follow that way until we have a winner.

7:16 pm – A delegate just asked if they’ll be able to question the candidates. The answer is no, it’s not in the agenda.

7:17 pm – Talbot says the Iowa Code dictates that proportional voting, by strength of the precinct, is allowed and it’s proportional to the votes cast for that candidate’s party in the last general election. Talbot says that was four years ago, not two days ago, since this election is still underway and has not been canvassed yet.

7:18 pm – There was debate between the State Central Committee and the Dallas and Polk County central committees on whether or not this should be done by proportion or one person, one vote.

7:19 pm – Talbot says because the precinct did not exist so it should be one person, one vote. Rob Taylor references a letter sent by the county central committees using a different format, based on voter registration. Talbot says there’s no provision for that.

7:21 pm – Talbot says rules of the convention can be changed after he gavels it into order.

7:22 pm – The explanation of the rules might take longer than the freaking convention.

7:23 pm – Talbot says if you want to defeat his ruling, you’ll have to get a new chair for the convention, as he’s going by the RPI Constitution. And we’re finally called to order. YEA.

7:24 pm – Charles Schneider, West Des Moines city councilman is the first candidate nominated.

7;25 pm – David Van Ahn nominated Schneider. Connie Schmett is the second candidate nominated. David  Creighton from Clive 3 nominates her.

7:25 pm – Rob Taylor nominates Clive Mayor Scott Cirksena.

7:26 pm – Greg Hudson, WDM Valley school teacher is nominated by a lady named Tamara. Didn’t catch her last name.

7:27 pm – John Ward nominated by Susan Murphy.

7:28 pm – The nominators are giving brief speeches as well. Charlie Gruschow, WDM 117, nominates Isaiah McGee.

7:29 pm – There are a total of 64 eligible delegates. I’m only seeing a few empty seats, so good turnout by the delegates.

7:30 pm – And that’s it for the nominations. No surprises.

7:31 pm – The nominees are now having to prove they are eligible. One delegate moved to disqualify John Ward and Charles Schneider because they are lawyers. OK…whatever. John Kurr is the delegate.

7:32 pm – Chairman Talbot says Kurr’s motion is out of order. Kurr claims the Iowa Constitution backs up his objection.

7:33 pm – Speeches starting now. Schneider up first. He says we need to remember why we’re here, and that’s because of the passing of Pat Ward. Nice words from him. Schneider says his values show he would represent the values of the district.

7:34 pm – Schneider says he stood up again red light cameras as a member of the WDM city council. That’s a thinly veiled jab at Scott Cirksena, who is the mayor of Clive, which did approve red light cameras.

7:35 pm – Schneider says he’s got good electoral history and fundraising, and mentions he’s already got $20,000 in his city council campaign account that he could roll over to his senate account.

7:36 pm – Schneider mentions he grew up in West Des Moines. He says he was the first WDM city councilman who lived in Dallas County. “I’m very comfortable in this district, I believe I fit it…. We had a bit of a setback two days ago, but we need to not lose faith… This is an important seat for us… I take ownership in this seat… ” Schneider wraps by asking for the votes and also asks that we support whoever wins.

7:38 pm – Connie Schmett up now.

7:39 pm – Schmett mentions she was working until the last minute for the Romney campaign. Says she’s pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-gun, and says she’s got several guns.

7:40 pm – She mentions a lesson passed down from her father, who told her that whatever she does, do it with your full vigor and with everything you’ve got.

7:41 pm – “I want to run because I want to make a difference in your live. I want to make a difference in your children’s lives.”

7:42 pm – Schmett says she’s a small business owner and she’s concerned about small business owners and the daunting regulations they’re dealing with. She also references Mentor Iowa, a non-profit organization she runs that helps disadvantaged youths through mentoring.

7:43 pm – Schmett mentions she served under Governor Branstad, working with constituents and on the administrative rules… And  she got cut-off as she exceeded the four minute time limit.

7:44 pm – Up next is Clive Mayor Scott Cirksena.

7:45 pm – Starts by mention Pat Ward, as Schneider did. Says he was born and raised in West Des Moines.

7:46 pm – “I’m a mainstream conservative Republican. I support pro-growth, pro-life…agenda….I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

7:46 pm – Cirksena mentions being named to Governor Branstad’s transportation 2020 commission last year. Says his experience with the Metro Advisory Council has included lobbying congressional delegations and the legislature. Brings up he has won three elections.

7:47 pm – ‘I have campaign organization in place…” Says he has the money already prepared to launch his campaign.. And he wraps up with that. Fairly short speech.

7:48 pm – Greg Hudson, WDM Valley social studies teacher, is up now. Hudson is the least know candidate in this race. Brings up that he and his wife, who also teachers, are asked every year to join the teachers’ union, but they decline every year. “We don’t want our money going to Democrats,” he said.

7:50 pm – Mentions he’s a conservative activist and says his “I want to be in the state senate to bring fiscal responsibility, and accountability… to education.

7:51 pm – Hudson says he wants to bring young people into the Republican Party. “A giant way to do that is to look at the running debt clock.” Says no student has left his classroom without watching the giant running debt clock on a projector for two minutes.  Also says we should be teaching the constitution to our youth.

7:52 pm – Says “we’d all do a great job” and he will support whoever wins. Good speech, as he ran right up until the end of his 4 minutes.

7:53 pm – John Ward up now.

7:54 pm – “First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who reached out to my family with condolences on Pat’s passing…”

7:54 pm – Ward is giving his background. Grew up on a farm near Knoxville, law degree from Drake, now CEO of a law firm.

7:55 pm – “I’ve had a lot of experience dealing with the senate… I am a lifelong Republican, but I am first and foremost a conservative…” Says he would vote to give Iowans a chance to vote on marriage, he’s pro-life and pro-Second Amendment.

7:55 pm – “As a small business owner, I understand the importance of a balance budget…” Opposes an increase to the gas tax and supports reworking the commercial property tax.

7:56 pm – “I think you should select me because I would win…” Says he has a plan and infrastructure in place. Has a vendor ready to print signs tomorrow and volunteer ready to put signs up on Saturday. “I know the plan will work because it’s worked in the past…” And he runs over his time as well.

7:57 pm – Final candidate is Isaiah McGee.

7:58 pm –  “Tuesday is Tuesday. It’s in the past… This is the first election toward getting us the majority… “

7:59 pm – McGee quotes Frederick Douglass. Discusses what we need to do as the minority party, have to stop Gronstal’s agenda.

7:59 pm – McGee says most of the candidates know the district, policy and have similar stances. The differences are he can win and he has the passion and energy to do this job.

8:00 pm – McGee uses an acronym: VOTE: values. Talks about growing up in a single parent home, but learned the value of doing things on his own without government assistance.

8:01 pm – Holds up a picture of his kids. Says Desmund Adams is pretending like he’s a moderate. Says he knows Adams personally. McGee says he has the experience to do what it takes. He wraps up right at the four-minute mark.

8:02 pm – OK. Speeches are done. If I were to grade based just on speeches, I’d put McGee and Hudson at the top.

8:03 pm – Let the voting begin. This will take a little while, so my next update will be in about 5-10 minutes or so.

8:06 pm – BTW, if anyone is asking who the “liberty” candidate is, I don’t believe there is one. I’m not sure about Hudson, but he made it clear he would support the nominee. I’m pretty confident none of the other candidates are Ron Paul-types.

8:09 pm – The chairman asked if delegates were comfortable passing their ballots to the person at the end of the row. The answer was no. So everybody is getting up, row-by-row, to drop their ballot in a box at the front of the room.

8:10 pm – BTW, I was wrong earlier. Jeff Mullen, who lost to Pat Ward in the primary, is here as a voting delegate. I had forgotten he was on the Dallas County central committee.

8:12 pm – At least two of the candidates are also voting delegates: Connie Schmett and Greg Hudson.

8:13 pm – Voting and ballot box stuffing is over. Let the counting begin… The candidates are allowed to watch the counting. No one else is.

8:20 pm – I did a headcount. It’s not exact, but it does indeed appear to be pretty even in terms of delegates and curious onlookers. About 60 each.

8:23 pm – The candidates are emerging out of the side office, so we will have ballot results very soon.

8:24 pm  – My clandestine, ubiquitous sources tell me Charles Schneider has the lead on the first ballot, with Isaiah McGee is second, but neither is close to a majority, so we’re going to a second ballot. We’ll hear the official results in a minute.

8:25 pm – First ballot results: Schneider 9 2/4, McGee 7 4/7, Ward, 4 5/6 Hudson 2 4/7, Cirksena 1 4/7, Schmett 1. I do not understand the fractional breakdown. That wasn’t explained well ahead of time. A winner will need over 13 1/2 for a majority. Going to a second ballot.

8:28 pm – OK, here’s a simple explanation of the fractions: If a precinct in Clive has 3 reps, they each get 1/3 vote, if there are 2 here from a precinct they each get 1/2 vote. If there’s only one percent here from a precinct, that person’s vote counts as 1 full vote.

8:30 pm – In the immortal words of Chevy Chase, on SNL, impersonating Gerald Ford: “It was my understanding there would be no math during the debates…”

8:31 pm – So, as a lot of people predicted, Charles Schneider and Isaiah McGee are the frontrunners right now. But anything can happen. The bottom candidate will be eliminated after the second ballot if we don’t have a majority winner (13 1/2 votes).

8:34 pm – Second round of voting is now beginning. Slow process. One row at a time, they walk up and pick up their ballot, take it to their seat, cast the ballot, then once everyone votes, they go by row to deliver the ballot back to the box at the front of the room. This will take another 10-15 minutes, methinks.

8:46 pm – Forgot to mention, State Senator Bill Dix is also present.


8:54  pm – Schneider got 14.33 in the second ballot.

8:55 pm – Chairmanship of the convention is turned over to Schneider. He thanks his wife, fellow candidates, who are all standing behind at the front of the room. “I think you can all tell that we’re ready to hold onto this seat, and that starts right now.”

8:56 pm – Schneider says “this is an honor” and he will serve with respect. And with that we’re done. Congratulations to Charles Schneider, the GOP nominee for Senate District 22.

8:59 pm – Final vote tally: Schneider 14.33, McGee 6.582, Ward 3.499, Hudson 1.916, Cirksena .667 and Schmett 0.

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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