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April 20th, 2012
 

Voter Guide: GOP State Central Committee Candidates

Iowa Republicans elect a new State Central Committee during this Saturday’s district conventions. Four members will be selected from each of the state’s four districts. Each candidate will be allowed to speak to the convention prior to the election. State Central Committee members serve two-year terms and play a crucial role in managing the Republican Party of Iowa’s business affairs.

TheIowaRepublican.com attempted to contact each candidate that plans on running via phone, email, and/or online. There are some candidates that we were unable to reach. One Ron Paul supporter who did participate in our questionnaire told us they were advised not to respond to our questionnaire and phone calls.

Three current SCC members, Emily Lofgren, Jeremiah Johnson, and Monte Shaw, said they are not running for reelection. We have heard reports that David Fischer and Drew Ivers are also not running for reelection. However, they did not respond to our email seeking confirmation. Ivers is the state chairman for the Ron Paul campaign. Fischer is the vice-chair.

If any SCC candidates would like to be added to this list, please email Craig@TheIowaRepublican.com.

We asked each candidate the same three questions:

1.    What work have you done (volunteer or otherwise) on behalf of the Republican Party or Republican candidates?

2.    Who did you caucus for in 2012?

3.    Do you believe SCC members should be allowed to work for and/or endorse candidates during GOP primary or caucus campaigns?

 

First District Candidates

Chelle Adkins – Black Hawk County

1.  Current SCC member. Volunteered in 2006 for Iowa Republicans, helping numerous Iowa House, Senate and congressional campaigns by writing letters, door knocking, etc. Served two terms as secretary of Black Hawk County GOP. Wrote and produced caucus training video

2.  Declined to say whom she caucused for. Prefers to remain neutral publicly. Voted for person she “thought was best to beat Obama”. Is willing to get behind whoever wins nomination

3.  “Absolutely not. That’s one of my big, hot-button issues.”

David Chung – Linn County 

1.  Been on the SCC’s organization committee working on the caucus-to-convention process. Currently chairing the Operations subcommittee of the Caucus Review Committee. Walked in parades, door knocked, and done lit drops for several candidates in Linn County. Also done phone banking on behalf of several candidates over the years. Have run my precinct caucuses and been a poll watcher for many years. Have also been a part of planning and running numerous caucuses, county, district and state conventions.

2.  Prefer not to respond

3.  “Absolutely not. When I chose to endorse Christian Fong for governor in
2008, I resigned from the SCC.”

David W. Cushman – Dubuque County

1.  Current chair of the Dubuque County GOP. Became a county central committee member during the 2010 caucuses.

2.  Ron Paul

3.  “I don’t as see it being as big an issue with an endorsement. I think if you’re a paid staff, I see that as an issue, or a conflict. I think if you are open and honest about supporting somebody, I think that’s ok.”

Tony Krebsbach – Mitchell County

1.  In 2010, helped James Mills’ state senate campaign. Also assisted Josh Byrnes’ state house campaign. Became the co-chair of the Mitchell County GOP shortly thereafter and then became the county chair in February 2012.

2.  “I had someone that I preferred, but I didn’t do too much because I was the caucus chair, so I didn’t want to do too much publicly.”

3.  “I believe that it’s up to each individual to make that decision. Any angle you want to take it, you could find a conflict of interest. It’s only a conflict of interest if you make it that way. I think what’s more of a conflict of interest is people say they’re neutral, but they don’t in their actions stay neutral.”

Tim Pugh – Linn County

1.  Linn County GOP central committee member. Assisted with Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ congressional campaign and the Branstad 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Currently helping out with Rod Blum’s congressional campaign. Has also done poll watching in Linn County.

2.  Declined to name which candidate he favored in caucus. “I think the central committee is more to help the Republican Party and try to defeat to Barack Obama and make sure we have a majorities in the House and Senate in Iowa.”

3.  No. 

Eric Rosenthal – Linn County

1.  Been involved with over 150 campaigns, on every level. Former Linn County GOP Chair. His main motivation for 2012 is the absentee ballot push. Currently serving on Ben Lange’s congressional steering committee.

2.  Rick Perry

3.  His understanding is that the new SCC will not be seated until after the June 5 primary. “If it isn’t, then I’m going to recuse myself from those campaigns” that he is currently assisting. “It’s a problem of perception and it’s better to err on the side of caution. When I was Linn County GOP chair, I made it a point not to be involved in primaries.”

Loras Schulte – Benton County

1.  Has not missed a county or district convention since 1984. Has chaired several county, district and state platforms. Managed the Iowa presidential campaigns for Pat Buchanan and Gary Bauer. Been to three RNC national conventions and worked on an estimated 250 state house races in the last five cycles. Twice elected to the State Central Committee in the old Third District. Been the chair of the Benton County Republicans for about 10 years.

2.  Rick Santorum

3.  “I never did (endorse in a primary/caucus) during the two terms I sat on the SCC. I did not do that and that was my personal decision. I think it’s kind of a hard line to walk, but I would not tell somebody they can’t do that.”

 

Second District Candidates

Bob Anderson – Johnson County

1.  Active in Republican campaigns from Ronald Reagan-forward as a county leader, and a young Republican leader. In Johnson County, has been chairman of the issues committee, chairman of Senator Grassley’s reelection committee, served on the state and district rules and platform committees. Serving in his fourth year as chairman of the Johnson County GOP Central Committee.

2.  “That’s a question that I have not answered to anyone. In my opinion, the chairman should remain neutral and a host to all of the presidential candidates and their aspirations. I attended or sponsored events for all of the candidates. I tried to be a fair advocate for all of the candidates and giving them all fair treatment in our county.”

3.  “My position is, that as an elected officer of the Republican Party, I would not endorse or work directly for any specific candidate until that candidate has been duly nominated by the party either by primary vote or convention. Once that candidate is official nominee of our party, then I support them fully.”

Trudy Caviness – Wapello County

1.  Wapello County Chair for over 12 years. Therefore, worked for all candidates in the county, state and national elections. Treasurer for several candidates. County Chair for Grassley, Bush, Miller-Meeks. Member of State Central Committee, 2010-2012. Parades, door knocking, literature, drop, Get Out the Vote efforts. Helped with Absentee ballot program, sending an absentee request to all Republican households in Wapello County. Assisted in the recount for Senator Mark Chelgren.

2.  “As a member of the SCC and Chair of our county, I do not declare a candidate until after the primary or convention.”

3.  “No. I feel that even though we have many people wanting us to join their team, it is important to remain neutral and offer assistance, information, and host all candidates. We are the Republican Party of Iowa Team.”

Mark Doland – Mahaska County 

1.  Worked for Huckabee as a volunteer precinct captain in 2008, Danny Carroll in 2008 as campaign manager, Bob Vander Plaats as Pastor’s coalition director in 2010, and Michele Bachmann as a Field Director in 2012.
2.  Michele Bachmann.
3.  If the party makes a rule prohibiting campaign workers/endorsements, I will abide by such rule. If there is no rule in place, I believe it is the S.C.C. member’s choice.

Marcus Fedler – Washington County

(Fedler did not return our phone call, but this information was retrieved online)

1.  Second District Co-Chair for Ron Paul 2012 campaign. Marcus served the GOP on the District Convention platform committee in ’08 and ’10, ran for County Supervisor in 2007, and in 2010 ran for Republican State Central Committee. He also helped with two Republican State Legislator races in 2010.

2.  Ron Paul

Mark LeRette – Muscatine County

1. 2000-2005  North Liberty Precinct Captain, Johnson County Central Committee; 2008-present  Precinct 4 Chair, Muscatine County CC; 2009-2010  Co-Chairman, Muscatine County CC; 2011-2012   Chairman, Muscatine County CC; 2009-present  2nd Ward Alderman, Muscatine City Council; 2012-present  Mayor Pro-Tem, Muscatine City Council; 2004  North Liberty Captain – GWB for President; 2010  Muscatine County Chair – Matt Schultz for Sec. of State

2. Rick Santorum.

3. “No member of leadership should be paid staff for a primary candidate in any race. Payment comes with expectation and responsibility that conflicts with the duties of the leadership. Leadership should not endorse in any statewide or local race. Candidates and their staff/volunteers need to know they are welcome and are being treated fairly. Leadership has influence at the state and local levels that can unfairly tip the balance of a race.”

John Ortega – Scott County

1.  Vice-chair of Scott County GOP. Done about everything for numerous candidates. On the central committee. Been there for 10 years. Whatever needed to be done, we do. Go door to door, a lot of telephone calls, mailings. A lot of work organizing for convention and caucus. Visited 17 of the 24 counties since June 2. Been on SCC since 2000.

2.  “Nobody. I’ve been neutral. I’ve been to all of their events and talked to all of them.”

3.  “No. If they want to do it, that’s perfectly fine, but they should not be on the State Central Committee or a National Committeeman or Committeewoman.”

Thomas Rutherford – Scott County

(Rutherford did not return a phone call placed to his home, but this information was retrieved online)

1.  Member of “Home Schoolers for Ron Paul” coalition.

2.  Ron Paul

Jeff Shipley – Jefferson County

(Shipley did not respond to a Facebook message sent Thursday, although he was posting on Facebook later that night. This information was retrieved online.)

1.  Volunteer for Ron Paul 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Spoke for Paul at 2012 Jefferson County caucus. Ran for Iowa City city council in 2009.

2.  Ron Paul

 

Third District Candidates

Steve Anders – Pottawattamie County

1. Served as volunteer on every Republican presidential campaign since Reagan. Been a SCC member in several different states: Texas, Pennsylvania, California, Colorado and Nebraska. Currently on the Pottawattamie County GOP Central Committee. Helped with different state house and senate camapaigns

2. Ron Paul

3. “I haven’t really thought about that.” No opinion.

Tyler De Haan – Dallas County

1.  Volunteered with the Branstad 2010 campaign, making phone calls. Helped local candidates like Chad Airhart and Ralph Watts, calling, door knocking, doing mailing, distributing yard sign, etc. in Dallas County. Active with the Northwestern College Republicans in Orange City. County chair for Tim Pawlenty for President.

2.  “After Pawlenty dropped out, I was the precinct leader for the Urbandale/Waukee precinct, so I was publicly neutral.”

3.  “There’s nothing in the bylaws that states that a member cannot. But, personally, I think it’s imperative to keep a business-like relationship. So, I think it’s important to stay neutral as long as somebody is not trying to take advantage of the system (like a Democrat running as Republican). 99% of the time, you should stay neutral.”

Wes Enos – Polk County

1.  Currently completing second term on the State Central Committee. Also serves on the Caucus Review Committee. Worked as staffer for Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee presidential campaigns and Bob Vander Plaats’ 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

2. Michele Bachmann.

3. Was a paid staffer for Bachmann during the 2012 campaign. Says he will not work for a candidate during a primary or caucus again if elected to another term “and would encourage other members to adopt similar policies of personal conduct. Its frankly not worth the headache that it causes”. Added that he “won’t be a hypocrite” and tell SCC members they can’t serve both roles.

Charlie Johnson Pottawattamie County

1.  National delegate to the 2000 RNC convention, Serves on the Pottawattamie GOP central committee. Twice been an electoral college voter. Staffer for Congressman Roscoe Bartlett. Worked on campaigns for Senator Grassley, Mary Ann Hanusa’s (his wife) Secretary of State campaign, and Mark Brandenburg’s 2006 state senate campaign.

2.  Mitt Romney

3.  “I don’t think a SCC member should be on a campaign or endorse a campaign or get paid by a campaign. SCC members should remain neutral and be open and fair to every candidate.”

John Kabitzke – Warren County

(Kabitzke did not return our phone call, but this information was gathered online.)

1.  Third District Co-Chair for Ron Paul 2012 Iowa campaign. John is an active member of the Warren County Republican Central Committee and has been elected numerous times to County, District and State GOP Conventions. John also ran for Republican National Convention Delegate in 2008.

2.  Ron Paul

Joel Kurtinitis – Polk County

1.  Volunteered for Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign. Got hired by Ron Paul campaign after the caucus. Attended the Occupy rally at the State Capitol in early October, “trying to convert Democrats”.  Attended state convention four years ago. Helped at the 2007 Ames Straw Poll for Duncan Hunter’s tent. Currently working for Jeff Mullen’s State Senate campaign.

2.  Ron Paul

3.  “I feel like, what someone should be allowed to do, is different from what they should do. Getting paid to work on a campaign while serving the SCC, I don’t see that I would have done that. Where there’s money involved, it calls people’s motives into question.”

Gopal Krishna – Polk County

1.  Served on the SCC since 1990. Treasurer of Republican Party of Iowa, 1995-96, 2008. Republican Presidential Elector, 1996. Co-Chair of RPI, 1996-2000. Donated to several county GOP central committees. Life Member of the Republican Senatorial Circle, Life Member of the Republican Presidential Task Force, 1998 delegate to RNC convention.

2.  “I did participate. I did not promote any candidate. I just voted for the candidate of my choice. I don’t think I want to reveal who I voted for.”

3.  “An endorsement by itself may be ok, but having a position on a campaign or being paid on a campaign is not…All of us don’t want people to abuse their position to promote something that is not fair. I think that does not sit well with the rank and file and it does not do any good for us, being the First-in-the-Nation when officers of the party take positions or take money for it. I want to give them all an equal opportunity.”

Richard Rogers – Polk County

1.  Active in party going back to Draft Goldwater movement in ’64. Member of Teenage Republicans. Helped brand various campaigns thru that era. Precinct captain for Steve Forbes for President, delegate to state convention, 2008 Polk County Chair for Fred Thompson. Worked on Dave Funk’s congressional and supervisor campaigns, heavily involved in Brenna Findley’s attorney general campaign. Chaired Polk County platform committee this year. Heavily involved with effort to draft Sarah Palin for 2012 presidential run and organizing the state for her.

2.  Newt Gingrich

3.  “I’m uneasy with the concept of central committee members working as paid members of a presidential staff. Exactly how the party wants to discuss it, I’ll leave it open to discussion. I am not opposed to a move to ban it. “

Ted Weaver – Polk County

1.  Worked with a number of candidates, such as Dave Funk, putting up yard signs, making phone calls. Polk County Chair for Latham 2012 campaign. Helped Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign. City Councilman in Clive.

2.  Mitt Romney

3.  “I think they should be able to endorse. I do not believe that they should directly work for a candidate. They need to recuse themselves from that type of role. I think there is a conflict of interest. If I were on the committee, I would not put myself in that type of position.”

 

Fourth District Candidates

Andy Cable – Hardin County

1.  Been a county central committee member for roughly 30 years. Hardin County GOP Chair or co-chair the last 10.  Been the 4th District Organization Chair 4 of the last 5 Conventions and was Permanent Chair for the District Convention 4 years ago. Was also was the State Permanent Organization Chair in charge of setup for the State Convention 6 years ago. Been either chair or a top advisor in several Statehouse elections for winning candidates.

2.  “I never announced publicly my vote nor as County Co-Chair did I campaign for any one candidate before the Caucuses. I was a supporter of Santorum after the caucuses, while also having great admiration for Gingrich and his abilities.”

3.  “As an elected County or State Officer the job is support the Party and ALL the members- not fractionalize it, nor profit off your elected position.  Those that do should simply select what and who their priorities are.”

Jeremy Davis – Story County

1.  Secretary of Story County GOP. As a volunteer, assisted presidential candidates as well as various state House and Senate candidates, gubernatorial campaigns and Senator Grassley’s campaigns. Volunteer activities include walking in parades, making phone calls, and helping the GOP Victory office in Ames.

2.  Rick Perry

3.  “From a personal perspective, I think during a primary or caucus process, members of the SCC should remain neutral. As soon as the candidate is identified, we should all get behind the nominee.”

Shawn Dietz – Franklin County

1.  Mayor of Hampton. Serves on the district rules committee. Served on the district platform committee in 2010. Past co-chair of Franklin County GOP. Publicly endorsed Ron Paul in 2012 campaign

2.  Ron Paul

3.  “Simply stated, if you as an individual feels comfortable with an endorsement and can defend it then you should absolutely be able to do so.”

Cindy Dirksen – Franklin County 

1.  Hosted a house party and volunteered for Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign. Conducted caucus trainings. Member of the Franklin County Central Committee. A lot of volunteering for GOP events. Franklin County Precinct Chair, Franklin County GOP Platform Committee, “Call From Home” volunteer for presidential candidate

2.  Rick Santorum

3.  “I don’t think it’s proper. I think it’s a conflict.”

Jeremy Freeman – Story County 

1.  Made over 10,000 calls in 2010, walked in parades and door knocked for Jack Whitver and Cindy Golding in their special elections. Serve on Story County Organization Committee. Helped plan caucuses in Story County. Heavily involved with College Republicans. In March, was awarded the college republican activist of the year. Currently the college republican 4th congressional district coordinator. Currently working on a US Senate campaign in New Mexico and will not be able to be at district convention.

2.  Newt Gingrich

3.  “I believe it is best that Central Committee members publicly admit who the support, but they should not work or or be paused by a contested campaign. Working for someone running unopposed in a Republican primary is acceptable.”

Jamie Johnson – Webster County

1.  Worked on 41 political campaigns over the last 20 years. Over 20 of them have been for Iowa Republican candidates running for federal, state, and local office. Personally knocked on over 100,000 doors for Iowa Republican candidates. Was the state coalitions director for the Rick Santorum presidential campaign.

2.  Rick Santorum

3.  “No, I do not think that SCC members should be allowed to work for candidates who face opponents in primary elections or caucuses.”

James Mills – Floyd County

(Mills did not respond to our email or return our phone call. This information was gathered online.)

1.  Current State Central Committee member, 2010 State Senate candidate, Ron Paul campaign district co-chair, active in Floyd County GOP

2.  Ron Paul

3.  Mills publicly endorsed Ron Paul in October 2011

Tim Moran – Woodbury County

1.  2010 – 2012 Iowa GOP State Central Committee, Secretary of RPI; 2010 – 2011 Conservative Principles PAC Director; 2008 & 2010 King for Congress Campaign Political Director; 2009 – 2010 Northey for Iowa Agriculture Campaign Organizer; 2007 – 2008 Romney for President Field Staff; 2002 & 2006 Vander Plaats for Governor Staff; Past member of the Pottawattamie County Central Committee (now reside in Woodbury)

2.  “Unfortunately I was unable to caucus. My role as a State Central Committee member required me to be dispatched to one of the 2 call centers receiving calls from caucus precincts.”

3.  “I would prefer SCC member not endorse candidates (I did not endorse a candidate in the 2012 Caucus). I am OPPOSED to SCC members getting paid by campaigns in presidential caucuses or other competitive Republican primaries.” 

Chad Steenhoek – Story County

(Steenhoek did not return our phone calls. Information was gleaned from the postcard he sent to delegates and online information)

1.   2010 Candidate for Iowa House, life-long Republican, Story County precinct chair

2.  Remained neutral publicly. However, Steenhoek indicated on his Facebook page that he voted for Newt Gingrich.

Josh Strief – Sac County

1.  Currently the VP of Drake Law Republicans at Drake University Law School. Former president of Drake College Republicans. Was Senator Grassley’s liaison to the Drake University campus. Delegate to the last two district and state conventions, on the Fifth district platform committee.

2.  Mitt Romney

3.  “No. Just because, you’re supposed to be representing the Republican Party as a whole.”

Craig Williams – Carroll County

1.  Current SCC member and treasurer of the Republican Party of Iowa. Also serving as chairman of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee. Been in that role for 5-6 years. Treasurer for King for Congress, 2012. Led successful effort to convince presidential campaigns to abandon DM Register/IPTV debate due to perceived liberal bias.

2.  I did not caucus for anyone in 2012.”

3.  “I do not believe that it is appropriate for state central committee members to choose sides in a primary at any level – let alone being paid by one of them.”

***Two updates: David Chung was accidentally omitted in the 2nd District. He has been added. David Haas is running for the Nominating Committee in District Four, not SCC, so he has been deleted. Other minor updates have also been made.

****Jeremy Freeman has been added to the list of Fourth District candidates.

*****Mark Doland has been added to the list of Second District candidates


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 TheIowaRepublican.com.




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