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December 13th, 2012

Winning the Races We Are Supposed to Win

Charles Schneider’s victory in the special election in Senate District 22 on Tuesday provided Iowa Republicans some much needed good news.  While Republican activists are disappointed that Senate Republicans failed to capture the majority in the Iowa Senate, losing this race would have been a disastrous blow to Iowa Republicans.

Senate District 22 is a solid Republican seat that should be easy for Iowa Republicans to hold.  Schneider won with ease, but his victory shouldn’t be taken for granted.  Republicans in the district got serious after being disappointed on November 6th.  Instead of griping ,they went to work, especially on absentee requests.

The Dallas and Polk County Central Committees also should be commended for nominating the candidate who was most prepared for the campaign.  As a West Des Moines City Councilman, Schneider was a known entity with roots in the district he wanted to represent.  He also brought nearly $20,000 to his campaign from his city council campaign account.  Everybody was caught off guard by Sen. Pat Ward’s death, but Schneider’s hard work in raising money for his city council campaign paid off big when the opportunity to run for Senate District 22 presented itself.

Winning the races that you are supposed to win is important in politics.  The voter registration numbers in the district would lead you to believe that this race was never in question, but on November 6th, Republicans lost control of a Republican leaning House District that State Representative Scott Raecker held for years.  Besides the hard work put forth to win this race, it also helped that President Obama wasn’t on the ballot.  Like it or not, Obama was a game changers in a number of legislative races this year.

A Word on Voter Registration

Speaking of voter registration, this website has been tough on Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A.J. Spiker.  Most of that criticism is deserved, but the criticism for Iowa Republicans falling behind Iowa Democrats in voter registration should not be laid at the Chairman’s feet.

The political environment and the candidates at the top of the ballot have more to do with voter registration numbers than a party chair does.  Chairman Spiker and his predecessor crowed about the gains Republicans made in the voter registrations, which makes them targets when the numbers go in the wrong direction.

As I pointed out before the election, most of the Democrat voter registration gains came out of four counties – Johnson, Linn, Polk, and Story.  A lot of those are college students, the others might have been tempted by a free concert.  Either way, the Obama campaign did a good job of finding students who were not in college in 2008 and other likely Obama voters.  Republicans didn’t have anything like that, but it’s not A.J. Spiker’s responsibility to find the Republican version of Jon Bon Jovi and convince him to hold a free concert.  That’s a job for the Romney campaign.

The good news in all of this is that, despite the Obama effort, Republicans only trail Democrats in registered voters by 4,461.  That’s nothing compared to the 110,000 advantage they had over Republicans in Iowa following the 2008 election.  The lesson to be learned is that party chairs shouldn’t celebrate good voter registration numbers because when the numbers go south, they are also going to get the blame.

What Fiscal Cliff?

Does anyone else find it odd that while Congress and the President attempt to deal with the “fiscal cliff,” Iowa media outlets are full of stories about high-speed rail service and the new $20 million bus station in Des Moines?  Usually when money’s tight you cut luxury items that are not necessary.  Rail service and flashy bus stations are not necessary.

The Des Moines Register

I’ve been critical of the Des Moines Register lately, but one I can’t think of the last time they held a position that wouldn’t have been the same position that the Iowa Democrat Party would take.  O.K., I guess the Romney endorsement would be something that IDP wouldn’t have supported, but it sure seems like they are trying to make up for that.

Consider the following:

No extensive reporting on Democrat Desmund Adams’ record.

Every time the liberal group CCI protests someone or something, the Register is there to report on it.  Or, let them write an op-ed in the Sunday paper.

Senator Tom Harkin gets in a tizzy with Iowa State over the Harkin Institute, the Register has his back.

And that’s just from the last few days…

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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