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September 22nd, 2012

New Elector, State Finance Chair Chosen at State Central Committee Meeting

The Republican Party of Iowa’s state central committee met Saturday morning to select a new candidate for elector, appoint a state finance chairperson and take care of other party business.

Longtime GOP activist Lanny Hustedt was chosen as the new candidate for elector in Iowa’s 4th congressional district. Hustedt finished second in the balloting behind Melinda Wadsley at the district convention. However, Wadsley stepped down following an uproar when she publicly stated she might cast her vote for Ron Paul instead of GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Hustedt told TheIowaRepublican that Mitt Romney can count on his “100 percent” support. “I’m very humbled by it,” Hustedt said. “It’s an important job and I just felt that most people put their names in for delegates or alternates, so I decided to do this.”

Iowa has six electoral votes. Hustedt won on the first ballot with nine votes. He is a former chairman of the Wright County GOP and co-chair of the O’Brien County GOP. Lyon County GOP Chair Cody Hoefert garnered five votes. The other two went to college Republican Josh Streif.

Also during Saturday’s meeting, former state central committee member Drew Ivers was named the Iowa GOP’s new state finance chair. Ivers was the Iowa chair for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. live blogged the SCC meeting. You can read that below:

Good morning. The Republican Party of Iowa’s state central committee is meeting this morning for its quarterly get together. One of the items on the agenda is to choose a new elector after Ron Paul supporter Melinda Wadsley resigned, at the best of Chairman A.J. Spiker, after she publicly revealed the might not be willing to vote for Mitt Romney.

That is the first item on the agenda. I will be live blogging the meeting, so hit “REFRESH” often to stay up to date.

11:05 They are now taking nominations for the elector. SCC member Jamie Johnson nominates Lyon County GOP Chairman Cody Hoefert.

11:07 SCC member Tim Moran nominates longtime activist Lanny Hustedt, who finished second in the balloting at the convention.

11:08 Moran also has nice words about Hoefert.

11:09 Wes Enos nominates Josh Streif, a young activist from Sac County. That ends the nominations and they will move to paper ballots.

11:10 They are now in the process of voting. It takes a majority vote to win. Hoefert has been lobbying hard for this position, and many people have contacted SCC members on his behalf. Hustedt has the support of some longtime activists and county chairs in NW Iowa. They have also been lobbying SCC members.

11:13 Before our liberal friend John Deeth jumps down my throat, I should state that they are choosing a “candidate for elector”, not an actual elector. They won’t actually be electors unless Mitt Romney wins Iowa. You’re welcome, John.

11:15 Results on the first ballot: Winner is Lanny Hustedt with nine votes, Cody Hoefert had five and Josh Streif had two. Hustedt is the candidate for elector in the 4th District.

11:16 I know Dr. Hoefert will be disappointed with the outcome. He is one of the best county chairs in the state and does a great job up there in Lyon County. It seems this was a reward to Hustedt for many, many years of service for the Republican Party.

11:17 Tracie Gibler with the Senate Majority Fund is speaking to the SCC now, just giving a status update. “We are poised to take this chamber and I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people,” Gibler says.

11:19 I’m not going to divulge details of what all the speakers say, but Gibler just used the term “very phenomenal” in response to a question about one particular race. I’m not sure “very phenomenal” is a term, but it is now.

11:20 Jill Neunaber, Mitt Romney’s Iowa campaign director, says Iowa is still very much in play. She mentions that earlier this week, on the same down, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed Obama up 8, while Rasmussen showed Romney up 3. Neunaber says we will see many more visits in the coming days from the Romney/Ryan campaign, including Congressman Ryan’s family, who leave just an hour and a half away from Dubuque, in Janesville, Wisconsin.

11:23 Neunaber says there is an energy gap that actually favors Republicans. Also talking campaign strategy, focusing on absentee ballots. Again, I’m not going to divulge things like that here. There will be other news items to report on as the SCC meeting continues, however. One SCC will be announcing his resignation today. Stay tuned.

11:26 One SCC asks about yard signs. They have apparently been slow getting those out, but that should change soon.

11:27 SCC member Joel Kurtinitis asks about something we’ve pointed out here on TIR, which is the numerous visits centered around the Des Moines area. Neunaber said it was necessary to focus on Des Moines, and they will be spreading out more of the state soon.

11:28 Wes Enos says “thank you” to Neunaber for the energy difference from the campaign as compared to McCain’s four years ago.

11:29 National Committeewoman Tamara Scott thanks Neunaber for bringing Ann Romney in on Thursday and the way the event was handled. Neunaber is done now. Lauren Page from the House Majority Fund is up next.

11:30 Page says there are Republicans running in 88 seats, Dems in 81 seats, but three of those did not get their paperwork in on time.

11:34 Page is providing a lot of numbers and polling results. Mentions the GOP house leadership has a significant financial advantage of the Dems.

11:35 Page: “House Republicans are going to have to play more defense than they did in 2010, but we like the matchups and feel like we can grow the majority.”

11:37 First quarter score: Iowa 13, Central Michigan 10. Surprised they’ve given up 10 points already.

11:38 Victory director Ryan Gough is up next with a resentation that includes power point. Show off.

11:39 Gough mentions that this is the most comprehensive Victory operation the state has ever soon.

11:43 I should mention that the new candidate for elector Lanny Hustedt is a former O’Brien County and Wright County GOP chair. There is no concern about him casting a vote for anyone other than the GOP nominee.

11:44 Gough is giving a breakdown of the GOP’s doorknocking program. Impressive numbers.

11:49 Victory director Ryan Gough is still taking questions. Governor Branstad’s spokesman Tim Albrecht is also here and will do a presentation soon, likely on the “Iowa Strong” initiative.

11:52 Gough is done. Albrecht up now. He has passed out red “Iowa Strong” wristbands. Iowa Strong is a unity effort between the governor’s office, the GOP House and the GOP Senate.

11:54 Albrecht mentions the importance of taking the majority in the Iowa Senate to end the Gronstalling, and finally get property tax reform pushed through.

11:56 I just saw what Cody Hoefert wrote in the comments section. Very classy. Cody’s a great guy.

11:57 SCC member Loras Schulte asks Albrecht to tell the governor he is very appreciative about stepping up to raise funds for the Iowa Senate. They had a great event on Thursday in Altoona with NJ Governor Chris Christie.

11:58 Wow. 2nd quarter: Central Michigan 17, Iowa 14. This is going to be a rough year.

11:59 National Committeewoman Tamara Scott is mentioning the Supreme Court justices being voted out in 2010, and without actually saying it, I believe she was asking Albrecht to get Governor Branstad behind the effort to oust Justice Wiggins. Albrecht more or less tiptoed around the question. Branstad’s not going to get involved in that.

12:01 They are now recessing for lunch. Check back in around 1pm for more updates.

12:36 OK, they’re back in session. Now doing officer reports. Chairman Spiker mentions he was out at a house party for John Archer’s congressional campaign last night and thinks “we’ve got a real shot at the 2nd District congressional race”.

12:37 In case you care, the Hawkeyes are losing to Central Michigan at halftime, 23-14. Ouch. For a point of reference, Central Michigan lost to Michigan State last week 41-7.

12:38 Chairman Spiker is talking about how the doorknocking program is new this year and how well its going. Says House Speaker Kraig Paulsen “has been great to work with”.

12:39 BTW, there are two SCC members who are not in attendance today, Gopal Krishna and Marcus Fedler.

12:40 Spiker says RPI staffer John Ferland has been “consumed” by the Victory campaign, so he’s now working out of the Urbandale office.

12:41 Spiker: “Iowa came out of the convention with the strongest First-in-the Nation status it’s ever had.” He mentions the penalties on states if they move ahead in the calendar.

12:43 Spiker mentions grassroots activists being upset with the RNC rule change that allows presidential candidates to veto delegates assigned to them.

12:44 Spiker says he feels good about our First-in-the-Nation status, but “we have to be careful” about the RNC being able to change the rules with a 75% threshold.

12:46 Spiker, in response to a question from SCC member Jamie Johnson, says the enthusiasm was great at the convention, but the rules battle remains a point of contention.

12:48 Spiker: “It was over $100,000 we raised in the breakfast fundraiser down there.”

12:48 Spiker says there’s currently over $700,000 in all the RPI accounts combined

12:49 Keep in mind that these accounts include the Senate and House majority funds, which really have little to do with RPI’s efforts. Those are handled internally by the Senate and House GOP leaders.

12:51 Spiker: “I can argue it both ways. I think there’s a lot of merit to binding delegates and there’s a lot of merit to not binding delegates.”

12:53 Spiker done. RPI Executive Director Steve Bierfeldt speaking now. He’s talking about the fundraising mailer they did with Governor Branstad. Repeats what Spiker said that they raised over $100,000 net in Tampa.

12:54 RNC will be covering the Victory fund this year, which will help RPI’s finances.

12:57 Bierfeldt talks about the improvements of the website and social media. The website is a significant upgrade from the previous one, which was abysmal.

12:59 Bierfeldt says the Facebook likes, etc. are significantly up and grew greatly during RNC week.

1:05 Lots of talk about the website and potential upgrades,

1:07 Hawks open second half with a TD on their first drive. 3rd quarter score: Central Michigan 23, Iowa 21.

1;08 Still lots to get to on the agenda. Two key items coming up: One SCC member will announce his resignation, and Ron Paul’s state campaign chairman Drew Ivers, a former SCC member, will be confirmed as the new RPI state finance champion. That will be a rubberstamp, guaranteed to pass due to the Paul influence that dominates the SCC.

1:14 Still talking about the website. I need more caffeine.

1:17 SCC members will now be allowed to add their own content on the website, pending Bierfeldt’s approval.

1:18 Moving on to other committee reports. Co-chair Bill Schickel says he will hold his until the budget report. Treasurer John Kabitzke is talking now, then Secretary Tim Moran.

1:21 Now on to Standing Committee Reports. John Kabitzke talking about fundraising and expenses.

1:24 Kabitzke done. Now onto Campaign Committee Report from Wes Enos.

1:25 That was quick. Enos done, now Tony Krebsbach providing the Legislative Campaign Committee reports. Very quick. Steve Scheffler is providing the Organization Committee report, in the absence of Gopal Krishna. Scheffler’s talking about the RNC Rules Committee issues.

1:26 Scheffler calls Ben Ginsburg, the D.C. attorney who was ramming through many of the rules changes, “the culprit” and “kind of a horse’s rear end”.

1:28 Scheffler mentions they were able to get rid of the most egregious attempted rule change. Egregious is my word, not Scheffler’s. One of my favorites, plus it makes me sound smart.

1:30 Scheffler: “In my view this was a power grab by the RNC.” He’s now talking about the change that was made at the last minute from having the majority of delegates in five states being necessary to be nominated to eight states. Scheffler calls it “unnecessary” and poking in the eye of the grassroots.

1:32 Scheffler is pessimistic about the new rules to penalize states from jumping ahead. He says it didn’t work this time so he’s not sure how protected our FITN status is.

1:40 More talk about the convention and attempted rule changes.

1:47 Loras Schulte is now talking about how the vote on caucus night “is just a straw poll”. Chad Steenhoek backs that up. They’re talking about all the criticism Iowa received after the vote counting debacle on January 3.

1:48 Chairman Spiker just asked to have Drew Ivers approved as State Finance Chairman. “Drew will be responsible for putting together a state finance committee…to build upon raising funds for the state party.”

1:49 Tamara Scott asks if the committee will be approved by the SCC. Spiker says he will pick them: “I would make the recommendation that it come from a variety of political campaigns, not any one campaign, not any one political party,” the national committeewoman says. She’s clearly making the point that the committee should not be dominated by Ron Paul backers.

1:51 Spiker says this is an unpaid position. SCC member Tim Moran asks if Mr. Ivers can provide some background on his fundraising background.

1:52 Ivers, a former SCC member who did not run for reelection at the district conventions. Ivers mentioned he was a district finance chair in the 80s, has been on the SCC and involved with campaigns. Again, Ivers was the Iowa chairman for Ron Paul’s campaign.

1:53 Ivers talks about the need to be the party of “small government”. “I want to help build that and strengthen that.” That’s great, but I’m not sure how that applies to fundraising.

1:55 Hawkeyes not leading Central Michigan, 24-23.

1:56 Ivers says the major donor base has been neglected by RPI over the past few years, and the committee would focus on that.

1:57 Ivers asks all SCC to “make a significant donation” to the party.

1:58 He also asks them to each provide a list of 10 “major donors” who can make donations of $5,000-$25,000.

1:59 Ivers: “Back to what Tamara said, we want to keep this party as broad as possible.”

2:00 Tamara Scott: “How do you respond when people say ‘You were the face we saw not supporting the nominee?'”

2:01 Ivers: “I’m a supporter of the ticket and I’m going to support the ticket, and not just the presidency….Again we get focused on this top ticket….I’m supportive. Primaries are very healthy things. They are very good for the party. Without primaries you don’t have new people, new ideas…”

2:02 Ivers admits, “We’re the entrenched. The establishment.” Wow. A Ron Paul supporter in Iowa finally admitted it.

2:03 Ivers is going on about “reviving the party” with new ideas. He even references the SCC as an example of the new ideas  and people.

2:05 Jamie Johnson: “I know how most of the Ron Paul people feel as well. I think what Tamara was trying to convey was that some of the traditional big donors to RPI… might be concerned…can we trust giving to person….” who did not support Romney, is basically what he’s saying.

2:06 Johnson: “You’re very visible as a non-Romney guy, I am as well.” He’s trying to expound on what Tamara asked.

2:07 Ivers: “After 45 days, 2012 is history… What I want to do is build the party, strengthen party…Believe it or not, I’m a party guy…. Candidates come and go. The party is established and stays in place.”

2:09 Loras Schulte, on how to handle the concerns about the Ron Paul influence: “Failure in November to unseat Barack Obama is not an option…” He says all of those present believe that. “That’s what I would tell those individuals…” who might have concerns about Ivers’ Ron Paul loyalty.

2:12 Ivers: “The Iowa Caucuses are in fact a delegate selection process.”… “Maybe you should ask the Romney campaign didn’t work the delegate selection process…” .. “The point is, it’s a straw poll. Candidates don’t have a good understanding of that, largely because the press is blowing the straw poll out of what it really is.” Tony Krebsbach is now speaking up on behalf of Ivers. Jeff Shipley did as well. Basically the Paul backers on the SCC are giving voice to rubberstamping Ivers for this position. Those are aren’t Paul backers are at least asking pertinent questions.

2:14 David Chung mentions how the chairman and all the staff are from the Ron Paul campaign and how there is a perception problem with that. “I’m not questioning your qualification,… but given the current place we are with the party leadership… just like if you all went to the same university, you would never find that (in a job)”. Chung is absolutely right. No job would hire just Hawkeye or Cyclone alumni.

2:16 Ivers toots the horn of the Ron Paul campaign staff and how you hire people you know can do the job and the Ron Paul staff was “a very effective” staff.

2:17 Tony Krebsbach: “We as Republicans need to all be going in the same direction.” Krebsbach is a Paul backer, but he’s saying some great stuff here and pointing out the perception problems that exist with the Ron Paul backers completely dominating the Republican Party of Iowa.

2:19 Tamara Scott rephrases her initial question and and notes she supported a difference candidate than the one nominated, but wants to know how they can answer questions from potential donors who are concerned where his allegiance lies.

2:20 SCC member Tim Moran states that moving from campaign organization to fundraising is difficult because you’re painted with a certain brush because of who you’ve worked for. Moran says he doesn’t doubt Ivers’ organizing skills, but has concerns about his fundraising skills.

2:21 Ivers responds that the committee will fill that role and we come from a wide spectrum across the party.

2:23 Wes Enos sent me a message pointing out that most of his content, as the Campaign Committee chair was already covered by the majority fund and Victory reps. That’s why his segment was so swift. As an attendee, I’m very happy with short segments. Thanks Wes. Great report!

2:24 They are now moving to a paper ballot to confirm Drew Ivers as State Finance Chairman.

2:30 Wow. Iowa just lost to Central Michigan on a last second 47 yard field goal, 32-31. Brutal.

2:31 Confirmation of Drew Ivers passed 10-5. Ivers is the new RPI State Finance Chairman. Spiker notes that Ivers also donated $2,500 to RPI and thanks him for that.

2:34 The resignation I mentioned earlier will apparently wait. Meeting is continuing but I’m exiting. There’s now discussion of donating a total of $70,000 to GOP candidates in Iowa, $1,000 per senate and $500 per house. Steve Scheffler questions donating to candidates who stand little chance.

Thanks for reading. I’ll follow up with more info later.

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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