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December 9th, 2013

RPI Should Focus on the Task At Hand: Winning in 2014

Back in August, the Republican State Central Committee created mess for itself when it decided to push back the state convention without discussing the idea with anyone the move would impact.  While the convention would ultimately be moved back to its original date, the ordeal exposed just how out-of-touch the governing board of the Republican Party of Iowa can be with its own candidates and activists.

One would have thought that the State Central Committee learned their lesson from the ordeal, but I guess that was too much to ask for.   Last week, multiple members of the State Central Committee offered changes to the party’s by-laws and constitution.  Notice of the proposed changes was given with the proper ten-days notice before a State Central Committee meeting, but again, activists, candidates, and elected official deserve input on these changes, not just the members of the committee.

The committee passed a by-law change that prohibits members from being directly or indirectly compensated by a campaign.  Eliminating conflicts of interest is a worthwhile endeavor, but this change will do little to keep state central committee members fair and unbiased in future elections.  The intent of the new by-law is good, but it’s more of a feel-good move than a by-law with actual teeth.

The new by-law keeps members from working for a campaign, but it does nothing to prevent a member from working for an entity that may be backing a particular candidate or cause.  For example, a member may not work for a Rand Paul presidential campaign, but they could work for the Campaign for Liberty.  So what good does this new by-law really do?

Conflicts of interest existed in the last presidential campaign as some members of the committee were on the payroll of the Paul and Bachmann campaigns.  Ironically, the current Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, A.J. Spiker, often argued that at least you knew where he stood, unlike other members who may have not disclosed who they were supporting.  It was a valid point, but conflicts of interest still remained.

What I don’t understand in all of this is why are we debating these internal changes now?  Change typically comes in response to a problem.  While many people have spoken out against committee members working with campaigns, changing the way elect our chairman has not been a topic of discussion.  It seems that the committee is overly focused on internal politics and its own members than helping elect Republicans next fall.

I find it ironic that the State Central Committee is debating by-law and constitutional changes at the time when they should be talking about how to improve Republicans’ early voting efforts.  Furthermore, I find it odd that they are discussing central committee restrictions and changes to how we elect our chairman in an actual meeting of the State Central Committee, but they have never taken up the recommendations from the Caucus Review Committee that were forwarded after the debacle that was the last caucus winner announcement.

If there is a term that encapsulates the Republican State Central Committee, it’s tone deaf.  Here is some unsolicited advice for the Republican State Central Committee.  If you want to be re-elected, channel your energies into doing things that will help Republicans win next November.  Enough of the intra-party stuff already.  There are plenty of things that the committee could be doing to prepare for the 2014 general election if they are interested in doing so.

Quick Hits:

Props to the Scott County GOP.  The Scott County GOP has its priorities in the right place.  This weekend, they sent out a press release listing the locations for the upcoming precinct caucuses.  This is another area where the State Central Committee should be investing its time and resources.

Tyler Olson is not gay.  Or so we are told by Rekha Basu of the Des Moines Register.  In her Friday column, Basu said that people like me were piling on Olson when he’s down.  Well, at least I didn’t ask him if he’s gay like she did.  I also never speculated about what’s going on in his marriage that led to the divorce.

What I wrote last week simply stated that, no matter what went on that caused the Olsons’ marriage to fail, people are going to have questions.  People’s imaginations are going to run wild.  I also said that level is scrutiny should be expected after Olson basically made his wife his campaign’s spokesperson.

If you think I was tough on Olson, read what liberal Doug Burns had to say.  Can’t say that I disagree with anything he wrote, but it’s harsh.

RPI Field Trip!  This Friday is the big fundraiser for RPI in Houston with Ron Paul.  According to the event’s Facebook page, as of last night, 31 people are attending.  That’s a solid number, but assume that all of them pay the $250 entry fee (which never happens) and the event will only raise $7750.  Hey, that’s nothing to sneeze at, but then you have to consider that the party is picking up some of the expenses.  There’s the food, beverages, facility rental and so on.  One also wonders if the party is picking up the freight to fly Spiker, Fischer, and Bierfeld.  If so, this is more of a liberty themed field trip than a fundraiser.

Be Careful What You Attack Democrats.  The Iowa Democratic Party blasted Governor Terry Branstad for making a fundraising swing trough Texas last week.  Troy Price, Democratic Party executive director wrote that Branstad was, “waltzing alongside Tea Party Texans that represent the heart and soul of the GOP extremism, but couldn’t be farther from the views held by hard-working Iowans.”

I can’t wait to hear what Price has to say about Bruce Braley’s fundraising!  Braley has received 258 contributions for Texas totaling $163,923.  Maybe Price will ask Braley to return the evil money from Texas.

I got a little nervous when… I saw AFSCME thug Danny Homan in a Christmas commercial yesterday.  As you know, he has a tendency to use some foul language at times.  Glad he kept it clean for the Toys for Tots spot.

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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