The idea to break longstanding tradition and move the Iowa GOP state convention from June to July was the brainchild of Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A.J. Spiker. That is what State Central Committee member Gopal Krishna told the Polk County GOP on Tuesday.
It was Krishna who made the motion during Saturday’s SCC meeting to move the convention from June 14 to July 12. However, the idea was not his, or the SCC’s organizational committee.
“The organization committee met and the chairman came to the organization committee and wanted the state convention date to be postponed from June 14 to July 12,” Krishna said.
As has been the case throughout Spiker’s tenure, the SCC went along with the chairman’s wishes.
During Gopal Krishna’s brief speech to the Polk County GOP, he provided an update t on what the SCC has been up to. However, Krishna did not mention the controversial plan to move the convention, which is opposed by five GOP U.S. Senate candidates, Governor Branstad, Senator Grassley and a growing list of Republicans statewide. They all believe delaying the convention will help Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley.
When Krishna was done speaking to the Polk GOP, county central committee member Jon Gruber asked him why the SCC moved the state convention to July. After revealing it was Chairman Spiker’s idea, Krishna repeated the state reasons from RPI, that the decision was made due to the possibility of the U.S. Senate race being decided by convention delegates and the secretary of state’s office needing 27 days to certify the vote. Krishna noted that the decision was unanimously approved.
However, five of the 18 voting members of the SCC were not in attendance at the meeting, and another who was present at the meeting believes the vote was taken while he was in the restroom. That member, Cody Hoefert, says he opposes the decision to move the convention.
Fellow SCC member Jamie Johnson blasted RPI leadership Tuesday on Simon Conway’s WHO Radio program and says he is also opposed to the move.
Gopal Krishna told the Polk GOP that the SCC’s decision is “not set in stone” and also indicated he is now in favor of returning the convention to the originally agreed upon June 14 date.
“I would say, considering what I heard after what happened, I would still go back to June 14,” Krishna said.
Saturday’s meeting was not the first time the SCC had discussed the date for the state convention. According to the minutes from their meeting in April, the committee voted to set the convention date for June 14. The motion was made by Loras Schulte. He was not present at Saturday’s meeting.
You can view the minutes from the April meeting here:
Additionally, during the discussion on Saturday, no one pointed out that the convention had already been scheduled for June 14. The only date Krishna and Chairman Spiker referred to was July 12.
Following Gopal Krishna’s speech, Polk GOP member Dave Funk made a motion for the county central committee to pass a resolution expressing their disagreement with the SCC’s decision to move the convention to July. That resolution eventually passed, 48-32. (Full disclosure: As a Polk GOP central committee member, I voted in favor of the resolution.)
During discussion of the resolution, SCC member Joel Kurtinitis also addressed the Polk GOP. He said there “wasn’t a whole lot of objection” at the SCC meeting and it was not considered a controversial issue.
In fact, a tape of the meeting obtained by TheIowaRepublican.com reveals there was no objection from SCC members. The entire discussion of the issue and vote took only three minutes.
Kurtinitis also noted that Governor Branstad had a representative at the meeting who did not voice any objection to the convention move. This is a misleading narrative being pushed by RPI.
Governor Branstad expressed his vehement opposition to the move when he was asked about it during his weekly press conference on Monday morning. Joel Kurtinitis and the leadership of RPI is fully aware that, as a guest at the SCC meeting on Saturday, Branstad’s representative was not asked for his input on the decision, it would have not been proper to interject into the discussion and he likely would have been ruled “out of order” if he attempted to interject.
The facts are, the leadership of RPI did not consult with anyone prior to making this decision. Not the secretary of state’s office. Not Governor Branstad. Not Senator Grassley. Not any of the U.S. Senate candidates. All five declared candidates wrote Chairman Spiker a letter on Monday objecting to the move.
Now, Because of the lack of communication, RPI’s decision has backfired and people are suspicious of the decision. RNC National Committeeman Steve Scheffler, who is also a member of the Polk GOP, told TheIowaRepublican.com after the meeting that he is not opposed to moving the convention back to June 14. He also stated that there was no “nefarious intent” on behalf of the SCC with their decision to move the convention. He also said there must be better communication on all sides.
In other news from the Polk GOP central committee meeting, longtime activist Sherill Whisenand was elected the new co-chair for the county party via unanimous acclimation. They also announced Texas Governor, and 2012 presidential candidate, Rick Perry will headline the party’s fall dinner on November 7.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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