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January 10th, 2014

Cash Is King – The Weekly Round Up

It’s been quite the week for Iowa Politics, but the story that got everyone and their brother worked up into a tizzy was the Iowa State Fair’s decision to no longer accept cash for food, beverages, and rides.

The last thing I want to do is carry around fist full of 50-cent tickets.  Can you imagine going to the Beef Quarters and paying for a meal with gobs of tickets?  Not only would it have been inconvenient, it would have hurt business.  Ask my wife, I’m known for changing my mind at the last minute, but if we only have 10 bucks in tickets, we are not about to jump out of the food line to get in another line so we can buy more tickets, to only get back in line at the Beef Quarters.

Look, I was this close to starting an official boycott of the Iowa State Fair.  This is America.  I should be able to buy fried cheese curds or a corn dog with gold or American currency.  If you think it would be inconvenient for the average fairgoer, think about all the families and professional horse people who basically live on the fair grounds for days at a time.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks all would require tickets.  It’s outrageous.

Thankfully, the Iowa State Fair Board came to its senses and scrapped the idea.  While the outrage could be seen everywhere, the plan was doomed when Governor Terry Branstad issued a statement asking the Fair board to reconsider.

I understand that the fair wants to make sure that the vendors are paying them their 17.5 percent on revenues, but there has got to be a better way.  Maybe instead of using tickets, encourage vendors to accept credit and debit cards, which makes it impossible for them to fudge their numbers.  Better yet, the Fair could encourage fairgoers to use special state fair debit cards by giving people a free five dollars to spend at the fair if they use the card.  Maybe that’s a crazy idea, but it’s a heck of a lot better than making me carry around a ton ticket in my pocket.

Speaking of Cash – Mark Jacobs has a lot of it.

In the span of six weeks, U.S. Senate Candidate Mark Jacobs raised over $400,000.  That a lot more than anyone else seeking for the Republican U.S. Senate candidate has raised thus far.  Everyone expected Jacobs to spend a lot of his own money, but not many thought he would jump into the race and show off his fundraising skills.

Why is Joni Ernst Angry All the Time?

While Joni Ernst was campaigning in Eastern Iowa on Thursday, a reporter inquired about her fundraising numbers since Jacobs had just released his numbers.  Ernst lashed out and said, “Money can’t buy Iowa values.”   Ernst has repeatedly attacked Jacobs for not being Iowan enough since he officially entered the race.

As I have written before, Ernst’s critique of Jacobs is weak, especially considering that Ernst herself spent a number of years living outside of Iowa before returning to quickly run for political office.

It’s not like Mark Jacobs is out there attacking Joni Ernst about anything.  In fact, no body is attacking Ernst at the moment, which makes it even more disturbing that she is becoming an angry candidate.  If you can’t handle someone getting into the race and raising a lot of money, how on earth are you going to hold up in a general election fight with Bruce Braley?

It doesn’t matter who you are.  It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor.  Running for public office requires a lot of hard work.  It’s not easy for anyone to do.  That is especially true in a U.S. Senate race.  Running for office also requires thick skin, and it’s becoming apparent that Ernst lacks that trait.

Ernst’s reaction to Jacobs fundraising number is also a sign that her second quarter numbers aren’t as good as her first, other wise she would be spinning her number instead of attacking her opponent.

An Enthusiastic Matt Schultz Running for Congress

Matt Schultz impressed me in Council Bluffs on Thursday.  The room was packed, his speech was solid, and it never hurts to walk around holding one of your young children in your arms.  What impressed me the most about Schultz yesterday was the fire and passion he had in running for Congress.

This was evident while taking questions from local media.  I have observed Schultz as Secretary of State for three years now, and while he has is always optimistic and willing to go toe to toe with his political opponents, I’ve never seen him this excited.    I’ve got some great video that shows this on my phone, I just have to figure out how to down load it.  If you see it below, please know I must have found someone to help me.

David Young Makes a Shrewd Political Move

Third District Republican Congressional candidate David Young showed he knows how to get some earned media this week.  Young was featured in a story about Iowa Radiology’s used of 3D mammograms.  A great new technology, and one they want to spread the word about.  Talk about a good way to court the female vote!

ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Braley’s D.C. Mouthpiece

Jeff Giertz, Congressman Bruce Braley’s spokesperson for his U.S. Senate campaign, told the Des Moines Register on Tuesday, “Washington Republicans don’t know what’s going on here in Iowa, so they’re starting the new year the same way they ended the last: by attacking health care reform and trying to completely repeal it.”

Giertz was commenting on a new RNC radio ad in Iowa that beats up Braley for lying to Iowans when he said that if you liked your current insurance, you could keep it under Obamacare.  Giertz should take a look in the mirror.  He might be railing against Washington Republicans, but he is a Washington Democrat since he lives there and not in Iowa.  Thus, he is the last person who should be providing comment on how things are playing in Iowa.  Oh, Jeff, you might want to look at Braley’s pathetic poll numbers, he’s got a lot of work to do.

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If I was…

The following is list of random things I would be thinking if I were in someone else’s shoes.

If I was… Sen. Chuck Grassley, I wouldn’t want David Oman to run for Congress in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District.  People have just forgotten about the mess that was the Iowa Indoor Rain Forest.  It is best to let sleeping dogs lie!

If I was… interested in running for Secretary of State, Paul Pate’s presence in the race would give me pause.  Yes, Pate hasn’t occupied the Secretary of State’s office since 1999, but its not the former title that makes him a legitimate candidate, it’s his ability to change the narrative of the entire campaign.  It will be impossible for Brad Anderson to attack Pate like he has attacked Schultz.

If I was… interested in running for Congress in Iowa’s 3rd District, I would only run if I thought I could raise enough money to saturate the air waves with my message for the primary.  Matt Schultz and Brad Zaun are going to own the activists in the district, and that means the only other route for success is being the media campaign.  Frankly, I don’t see many people out there who are capable of being that candidate.

If I was… Governor Terry Branstad, I would call us Rick Green at the Des Moines Register and ask him if he’s been following the Chris Christie traffic scandal.  THAT’s what a real scandal looks like, not the lead-footed trooper driving the Governor on rural stretches of interstate.

If I was… the Des Moines Register, I would be embarrassed that my political reporters get leads for stories by reading this blog.  I never imagined that TIR would be providing a paint-by-number picture of Iowa politics for the Register’s staff.

The End.

Have a great weekend.

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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