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March 20th, 2013

Linn Co. GOP elects Golding chair

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—A united Linn County Republican Party elected businesswoman Cindy Golding as the chair of Iowa’s second largest county GOP Tuesday night. Six percent of Iowa Republicans call the county home, and the party infrastructure will factor into the open first congressional seat in the midterm elections.

Steve Armstrong, the outgoing chairman, emceed the cordial meeting where party activists selected Cedar Rapids physician Don Nelson, 64, as co-chairman, Mary Ernzen as secretary and Jim Conklin as treasurer.

Golding, the only candidate for chair, delivered a no-nonsense nomination speech: “Thanks for coming.”

The rural Linn County farmer and entrepreneur pitched an aggressive agenda to grow the party. She plans a permanent office and an expansion of GOP committees to add fresh ideas and more grassroots-level buy in to party activities. She wants the organization to have “oomph” in the community.

“One of the things that Linn County Republicans need to do is show that we’re a viable organization,” said Golding, a board member of the Iowa Farm Bureau and the National Federation of Independent Business. “We’re the second-largest county in Iowa. We have a lot of potential clout, but we haven’t realized it yet because we haven’t worked together in an effective manner. That’s my goal.”

Golding stressed party unity over factional infighting.

“My husband and I don’t agree on everything, and we’ve been married for 33 years,” she said. “And that’s okay. But our goal is to bring Republicans together. We really need to come together if we’re going to make a difference in this county, in this state and in this country.”

Golding said that county Republicans should feel free to discuss conservative issues in committees and in social settings before and after the meetings rather than air messy disagreements at the full central committee meetings.

“We’re not going to be debating platform issues such as gun rights at central committee meetings,” Golding said, stressing that such squabbles have “torn this committee apart for years.”

Nelson, the party’s soft-spoken co-chair, said he plans to act as a behind the scenes presence to build consensus on issues and shape the party’s long-term goals.

“We’re here to elect Republicans, but that’s not the only reason we’re Republicans,” Nelson said, adding that he supports limited government and personal freedom. “If we’re going to argue about who is going to grow government, it’s like arguing about whether Thelma or Louise is going to drive the car off the cliff.”

[photo by Bill Dahlsten]

About the Author

Jeff Patch
Jeff Patch is a correspondent for He's a communications, research and political consultant for Iowa candidates, causes and companies. E-mail questions, comments, insults or story ideas to jeff [at]

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