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January 30th, 2013

Iowa’s Loss Could Be New Hampshire’s Gain

By Craig Robinson

The Union Leader is reporting that Ryan Gough, the Republican National Committee’s Victory director in Iowa last cycle, is in the running to become the Republican Party of New Hampshire’s new executive director.

Gough spent parts of the last two election cycles working for the Republican Party of Iowa under the tutelage of Chad Olsen.  Olsen is a long-time Republican activist who served as the Republican Party of Iowa’s executive director before taking a position in the Secretary of State’s office shortly after current Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker took office following Matt Strawn’s resignation.

Gough is an ideal candidate because he not only has experience with running the RNC’s victory program in 2010 and 2012, but he has also dealt with the stresses of preparing for the First-in-the-Nation caucuses.  He would seem like an ideal fit in New Hampshire.  Like Olsen, the best term to use in describing Gough is professional.  New Hampshire would be wise to snap him up before a U.S. Senate candidate comes looking for him.

In other political employment news, Scott Will has accepted a position with the Republican State Leadership Committee.  Will will serve as the group’s deputy political director.  Will has worked on a number of Iowa Republican campaigns.  He worked for the Iowa Senate Majority Fund, the McCain 2008 campaign, and Fred Thompson’s caucus campaign.  Congratulations.

Regents President Demand Transparency

Craig Lang, the President of the Iowa Board of Regents, has proposed an overhaul of the state’s three regent universities’ transparency policies.  Lang’s initiative would create a nine-person task force that would include members of the Iowa legislature and representatives from each school, in addition to transparency experts.  Lang should be commended for advancing the concept following a number of embarrassing incidents at Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. has learned that Greg Geoffroy, a former ISU president and chairman of the Harkin Institute’s advisory board, regularly purges his email account—thereby avoiding public scrutiny of his decisions as chair of the institute.

Geoffroy’s habit of purging emails led to discover that Iowa hasn’t updated its guidelines on email records retention since 2002. The document still contains references to the decade-old reality that state officials once considered email a newfangled way of communicating, rather than the norm.

Who Isn’t Running for the U.S. Senate in 2014?

I know Iowa hasn’t had an open U.S. Senate Seat since 1974, but that doesn’t give everybody license to run around like chickens with their heads cut off.  Des Moines Register reporter Bill Petroski has asked everyone at the State Capitol if they are considering running for the open senate seat.  There is a handful of people in the State Capitol that deserve to be asked the question, but Petroski was so thorough, he seemingly asked every security guard if they were in or out.

The Republican side of the aisle is not that difficult to read.  All speculation begins with Congressmen Tom Latham and Steve King.  If one of them decides to run, most of the other names being mentioned will probably opt not to run.  Some of the names being speculated about are head scratchers.  State Senator Brad Zaun is a great guy and has sought higher office before, but it’s difficult seeing a statewide campaign in his future.

Zaun held a leadership position in the Iowa Senate in the year leading up to the 2012 election, but he contributed very little to the Senate Republican effort.  Then there is the outstanding debt from this 2010 congressional campaign.  Zaun still owes $3,000 in office rent, $687.50 to a campaign compliance company, and over $19,000 to Victory Enterprises for a whole bunch of stuff.  Clearing up debt is not how you want to kick off a U.S. Senate campaign.

A pro-women group wants to make sure that more women are being talked about as potential U.S. Senate candidates.  The list of women compiled by the group, called “50-50 in 2020,” includes:

Des Moines attorney Roxanne Conlin
Economic Development Director Debi Durham
Des Moines City Councilwoman Chris Hensley
Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum
Former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge
Former U.S. Ambassador Mary Kramer
Former Lt Gov. Sally Pederson
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds
Iowa House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer
Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack

I have nothing against female candidates. I’ve actually worked for one, but merely speculating about more women isn’t going to get one to run.  The list actually shows just how few up and coming women there are in Iowa politics.  Conlin, Judge, and Vilsack have all experienced major defeats.  Others have been out of politics for a while, and the few others that remain haven’t necessarily positioned themselves to run for higher office.

The top names on that list are Reynolds, Upmeyer, and Vilsack.  The one that deserves more ink is Upmeyer as she has traveled the state and raised a lot of money in the last few years.

What we all must remember is that the same rules that apply to the boys apply to the girls in politics.  You never know when an opportunity to run for higher office will present it self.  Knowing that, the advantage goes to the person who continues to cultivate relationships and raise money across the state to help their political party.  More than anything, a candidate needs to have connections if they want to run for statewide office.  If you don’t have them, you need not apply.




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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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