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April 8th, 2014

Desperate Democrats Don’t Seem to Have Much Ammunition Against Paul Pate

In 2006, the Secretary of State’s race was about felons voting.  In 2010, it was about voter ID.  This year, the race will be about whether you want an experienced public servant or a partisan political operative in charge of Iowa’s election process.

Even though current Secretary of State, Matt Schultz, isn’t seeking re-election to his statewide office, Iowa Democrats seem hell-bent on trying to link Paul Pate, the lone Republican seeking the office, to Schultz.  The latest effort comes in the form of an Iowa Democrat Party press release that cried foul over a campaign mailing Schultz authorized for his 3rd District Congressional campaign.

The Democrats’ complaint about Schultz’s mailing is much ado about nothing as the Democrats seem upset that the mailing also included Schultz’s current title, Secretary of State, and the envelope it arrived in said that an “official ballot” was enclosed.  The mailing was a letter from Schultz about his position on Second Amendment issues.  The fundraising mailing was for gun rights group, not Schultz’s campaign. Still, Brad Anderson, the Democrat running for Secretary of State and the Iowa Democratic Party went nuts over a gun rights survey being sent to likely Republican primary voters.

The Iowa Democratic Party took the issue a little bit further when they suggested that Schultz was “following Paul Pate’s playbook from 1997.”  The Iowa Democratic Party was talking about an ethics investigations into Pate’s 1998 campaign for governor when there were allegation of improperly using the Secretary of State’s official office, voter registration lists and computers to further his campaign.

The only problem with that attack for the Iowa Democratic Party is that they are only telling half the story.  The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board found that Pate did not have any knowledge of the infraction.  It is also matter of public record that Pate voluntarily addressed some perceived problems which occurred in the office.  Specifically, he informed the Board of a campaign-related activity that took place in the office after hours and not at taxpayer expense.  However, Pate took responsibility for the actions of his part time employee even though he had nothing to do with it.

There is a lot of irony in Anderson’s and the Iowa Democrat Party’s outrage over the Schultz mailing and an incident that occurred in the Secretary of States office over 17 years ago.  It was Brad Anderson’s employee at Link Strategies who recently plead guilty to stealing the identity of Secretary of State Matt Schultz not long before Anderson declared his intention to seek that office. 

Are we really to believe that a junior staffer at a political affairs firm was acting on his own when he attempted to use the identities of Secretary of State Matt Schultz and his brother with the intent to falsely implicate Secretary Schultz in illegal or unethical behavior?

It’s also preposterous that Anderson and the Iowa Democrat Party would allege that Pate, a person who held the office for four years without any major scandal, is corrupt, when the only experience that Anderson is running on is the fact that he was President Obama’s Iowa campaign manager for his 2012 re-election campaign.

I know that the kids who are churning out the press releases over at the Iowa Democratic Party were not around when Pate last occupied the Secretary of State’s office, and Anderson was probably a just a kid growing up in Chicago, but Pate served Iowa well as Secretary of State, and you don’t just have to take my word for it.

In an editorial by the Cedar Rapids Gazette, this is how they characterized Pate’s tenure as Secretary of State. “Pate can take satisfaction in having served his constituents with distinction, not only by reducing the size of his budget during each of his four years, but also by his ongoing efforts to focus public attention on the significance of their voting right and the consequences of voter abuses.”  

That’s high praise for a statewide elected official, and that’s exactly the type of person that Iowans want to serve them in the Secretary of State’s office. It seems to me that all the Democrats and Mr. Anderson have to campaign against Paul Pate is Matt Schultz, and that doesn’t seem like a winning strategy.

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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