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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 serves as the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prior to founding Iowa's largest conservative news site, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. In that capacity, Robinson planned and organized the largest political event in 2007, the Iowa Straw Poll, in Ames, Iowa. Robinson also organized the 2008 Republican caucuses in Iowa, and was later dispatched to Nevada to help with the caucuses there. Robinson cut his teeth in Iowa politics during the 2000 caucus campaign of businessman Steve Forbes and has been involved with most major campaigns in the state since then. His extensive political background and rolodex give him a unique perspective from which to monitor the political pulse of Iowa.

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