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November 1st, 2013
 

Three Candidates Emerge for Vacant State Central Committee Seat

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Written by: Kevin Hall
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Three prominent Republicans have announced their candidacy, or are strongly considering running, for the vacant seat on the Iowa Republican State Central Committee. The vacancy occurred when Third District representative Wes Enos resigned in early October. The district includes Polk County and southwest Iowa.

The three known candidates are conservative activist Art Smith, former SCC member Monte Shaw and Pottawattamie County GOP Chairman Jeff Jorgensen. The District Executive Committee, made up primarily of the county chairs and co-chairs in the Third District, will elect a new representative on November 12.

TheIowaRepublican.com interviewed the three candidates, asking each of them the same three questions. Here are their responses. They are listed alphabetically:

Jeff Jorgensen

Jeff Jorgensen

Home County: Pottawattamie

Occupation: Electronics technician at Union Pacific Railroad

Why are you running for the SCC and what qualifies you for this position?

“A little bit of it has to do with, those of us out here in the western third of the district, we feel that we don’t have a voice on the SCC. We feel that we’re not represented at all. Three of the four SCC members were from Polk County. All four were from the eastern edge of the district. This gives us an opportunity to get some representation from the western end of the district on the SCC. That’s a small part of why I want to be on the SCC.”

“We need to have an honest discussion. If we’re going to heal our wounds and get on the right path to elect Republicans…we’ve got to give a voice to every Republican. We need to get back on that path of allowing all of us a chance to participate. That’s what I’m going to be stressing. The dynamic has to change. It’s not working now.”

What is your background in helping Republican candidates/campaigns?

Currently serving in his second term as the chairman of the Pottawattamie County GOP. In that role, he has assisted Republican candidates on all levels of government. Helped John McCain’s 2008 campaign. Heavily involved in the Rod Roberts for Governor campaign in 2010 and led the movement to have him named lieutenant governor following the primary.

Do you believe SCC members should remain neutral during primaries/caucuses?

“I do. At that level, you should be responsible enough to maintain your unbiased attention to all the candidates that are coming through this state. As county chair I endorsed presidential candidates, but that was just me. At the state level, I certainly would observe that tradition.”

 Monte Shaw

Monte Shaw

Home County: Polk

Occupation: Executive director of Iowa Renewable Fuels Association

Why are you running for the SCC and what qualifies you for this position?

“When the vacancy occurred, a number of folks from counties throughout the Third District called me and asked me to consider running because they wanted to get somebody who has been there and done that before.  I had two terms on there and during that time I think there was general agreement that the state party operated at one of its highest levels ever. There some glitches here and there, but the party raised money, the party had an excellent voter turnout program in 2010 when we were able to control it and we had excellent relationships with our elected officials.”

“I’m a nuts and bolts guy. I’d be happy if no one even knew I was there. I don’t need to see my name in the Des Moines Register. I don’t need to be on any of the radio talk shows. I chaired the organizational committee for three years and that’s what I like. I want to make sure the party is operating.”

What is your background in helping Republican candidates/campaigns?

SCC member for two terms. Chaired the SCC organizational committee for three years. Ran Jim Ross Lightfoot for Congress campaign in 1994, worked for Bob Dole for President in 1995-96, deputy campaign manager for Lightfoot for Senate in 1996, ran Chuck Grassley’s 1998 U.S. Senate campaign, ran Elizabeth Dole for President campaign in Iowa in 2000, worked for Steve Forbes for President campaign in 2000.

Do you believe SCC members should remain neutral during primaries/caucuses?

“The four years I served, I remained neutral and if the support is there and we do this again, I would be remaining neutral again.”

Art Smith

Art Smith

Home County: Polk

Occupation: Systems architect for Wells Fargo and co-owner of Ambrosia Web Technology

Why are you running for the SCC and what qualifies you for this position?

“I am concerned that the contentious atmosphere within the party will lead to another year of limited interest in the caucus that will translate into limited interest in the mid-term elections. This will mean nothing but failure in 2014. I will bring focus on our party’s primary mission: electing Republicans. I have worked in both non-profit and business in roles where I could bring effective understanding for all parties so that focus on the organization’s goals can be maintained and success achieved.”

“Our grassroots have become so disenfranchised that they are either complacent or joining in the contentiousness.  Mind you, this isn’t a recent development, and I don’t expect to solve the problem overnight or on my own, but I know I can be a positive influence in steering our party to success as part of the State Central Committee.”

What is your background in helping Republican candidates/campaigns?

Volunteered for John McCain, Mitt Romney, Peter Cownie, Governor Branstad, Chris Hagenow, Dave Funk’s county supervisor campaign, Anita Morrill’s county supervisor campaign and Brad Zaun’s congressional campaign in the general election. Most of this work entailed delivering yard signs and door hangers, and making phone calls. Served as Polk County Republican Party Communications Director for two years. Helped with training and mentoring a number of candidates, as well as working his own precinct to remind people to vote and talk to them about our candidates.

Do you believe SCC members should remain neutral during primaries/caucuses?

“Absolutely. The integrity of the State Central  Committee is paramount in ensuring we have, in appearance and actuality, fair primaries and caucuses. We accomplish this by allowing the grassroots to assess the value of the candidates before them without undue influence or constraint by the party leadership. The minute that a member of the SCC throws support behind a candidate, they give the impression that they speak for the party as a whole, regardless of what they may say about it, and their actions on the committee may easily appear to be influenced by their allegiance to that candidate.”


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 TheIowaRepublican.com.




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