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December 1st, 2013

Kevin’s Korner: Major RPI Rules Changes, Christie’s Caucus and Ernst’s Mistake

Greetings and welcome to Kevin’s Korner. Sometimes you will never know the value of something until it becomes a memory.

It’s December 1. President Obama promised us his Obamacare website would be fixed by now. He lied. Shocking.

Republican State Central Committee member David Cushman has proposed some sweeping changes to the committee’s bylaws, and one major change to the Republican Party of Iowa’s Constitution. The SCC will vote on the proposed bylaws changes during this coming Saturday’s quarterly meeting.

Here are Cushman’s proposed amendments to Article V of the RPI bylaws:

  1. Limit SCC members’ service to three consecutive terms
  2. Prevent SCC members from working for campaigns or PACs
  3. Prevent SCC members from accepting any form of compensation from a PAC, campaign, office holder or lobbyist
  4. Prevent SCC members being a registered lobbyist

David Cushman also proposes an amendment to RPI’s Constitution that would change the way we select our chairman and co-chair … Instead of being selected by the SCC, the delegates to the state convention would elect them. The chair and co-chair’s term would begin as soon as the convention concludes, and end as soon as the next biennial convention begins … This change would have to be approved by the 2014 state convention delegates …

My initial thoughts: On the surface, these changes are all good ideas, worth considering …

Having said that, it is also worth remembering that David Cushman is part of the Paulistinian wing of the SCC. Some of the rules seem aimed at ending the repeated conflicts of interest the Paulistinians engage in …

Spiker loves Ron Paul

However, since the Paulistinians seized control of the SCC partly through deception, and the current leadership continues to give me every reason to treat all their moves with suspicion, I automatically wonder if Cushman is playing a pro-Paulistinian angle with these proposals … Perhaps they believe a convention battle would help them, based on their success in 2012. The Paulistinians forget they were the only ones organizing for the convention in 2012. It’s easy to win when you have no competition …

It takes a 2/3 majority to change the RPI bylaws. That means at least 12 of the 18 SCC members need to support the bylaws amendments proposals … In other words, these will have a hard time passing …

As for the constitutional amendment regarding how the chair and co-chair are elected, anything that would end the Spiker regime early would be a positive for the Republican Party of Iowa. This could potentially oust him seven months early … However, this would also make a long and combative state convention even more so. And it could mean we wind up with an even worse state chairman … Yes, that is possible. And frightening … It also would require 2/3 of the state convention delegates voting in favor of the amendment for it to pass.

You can read the proposed amendments by clicking on them below:

Ded 2013 SCC Agenda 2 Dec 2013 SCC Agenda 3

The frontrunner to win the 2016 Iowa Caucus is…Chris Christie?!?! WTH? According to a new poll from Conservative Intel, the Jersey guv leads the pack among the presidential contenders. Apparently, a fair amount of Iowa Republicans have forgotten about Christie’s bromance with Barack that helped the president get reelected. I haven’t …


Christie comes in at 17 percent in the poll, just ahead of Ted Cruz (16%). Rand Paul places third (13%), Rick Santorum fourth (11%) and Paul Ryan fifth (9%). Scott Walker picked up 7%, Marco Rubio 6, and Bobby Jindal 3% Undecided actually tied for first with 17%.

Here’s the most interesting tidbit from this poll: Christie overwhelmingly does better among young voters than any of the others (28%) … The next closest is Ryan, Santorum and Paul, tied at 12.5%, with Cruz at 9.4% among voters aged 18-35 … This poll dispels the notion that Paul and Cruz are the ones that appeal to youth voters, but we need more evidence than just one poll.

Christie also beats Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head matchup, 43-38, among likely Iowa voters. Clinton defeats all other Republicans in the poll … Personally, I think our bench is very strong and could see several of the above-named candidates as legitimate contenders.

Whitaker John Deere

The same poll showed Matt Whitaker as the candidate best positioned to defeat Bruce Braley in Iowa’s U.S. Senate race. The Whitaker campaign decided to trumpet the poll by proclaiming him the frontrunner. That’s not a title I would want at this point. It’s too early, and the only place to go is down …

I think Joni Ernst’s senate campaign made a mistake by rolling out the endorsement by Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds so early. Instead of eight months before the primary, it would have been much wiser to hold until April or May, as the candidates are making their final push …

Ernst was making a good case with her “Mother, Soldier, Conservative” mantra, but since the Reynolds endorsement, she is now viewed, in large part, as “the establishment candidate”. That could be damaging in the primary.

Joe Grandanette

A primary challenger has emerged for Congressman Tom Latham in Iowa’s Third District. Conservative activist Joe Grandanette, is angry about Latham’s vote in favor in the debt ceiling and hopes to get on the ballot for the June primary … Grandanette is a Des Moines native and longtime elementary school PE teacher. He ran unsuccessfully for the Iowa House in 2004 and I remember him volunteering for the Fred Thompson presidential campaign back in 2007.

I doubt Grandanette will come anywhere close to unseating Latham, but it is a distraction the congressman would rather avoid.

Finally, I sadly admit that I gave up on the Iowa State Cyclones yesterday when they were getting their tails kicked in the 2nd quarter. What did a miss? A monumental comeback and amazing 3 OT victory. Congrats Clones, and my apologies. Great way to end the season. Sorry I missed it.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for dropping by. A weak man has doubts before a decision. A strong man has them afterwards.

UPDATE: Two corrections: I’m now being told the constitutional amendment regarding how the chair and co-chair are elected is being proposed by SCC member Mark Doland, not David Cushman. Also, amendments to the RPI Constitution require majority vote, not 2/3 as was noted above.

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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