Although they refused to share candidate questions for the U.S. Senate forum with the co-sponsor of the event, the Grand View College Republicans apparently had no qualms about sharing the questions with outside activists.
The Polk County GOP backed out of sponsoring the U.S. Senate forum scheduled for Wednesday night on the Grand View University campus after the College Republicans refused to share the questions.
The Polk GOP, which has remained neutral in the U.S. Senate race, hoped to use the questions to generate quick media releases immediately following the forum. Sarah Brooks, the chair of the Grand View College Republicans, denied the request.
Brooks also claimed more than once on WHO-TV that Grand View University students came up with all of the questions for the forum. However, according to multiple sources, “liberty” activist Joseph Howe claimed on the Polk County GOP’s Facebook page on Tuesday that he had drafted some of the questions. That post has since been deleted.
Additionally, it was revealed during the Polk County GOP’s Executive Committee meeting that Jasper County activist Monte Goodyk had seen the list of questions. Neither Goodyk nor Howe are students at Grand View. Goodyk has publicly endorsed Sam Clovis in the U.S. Senate race and is also from the “liberty” wing of the party.
So, now we have the Grand View College Republicans sharing the questions with at least two outsiders, but refusing to do the same with the co-sponsor of the event. We also have an outsider taking credit for writing some of the questions, although all of the questions are supposed to come from Grand View students.
Then there is Sarah Brooks’ affiliation with Republican Party of Iowa Executive Director Steve Bierfeldt. Brooks is an intern for RPI under Bierfeldt, along with being chair of the Grand View College Republicans.
In an email sent to the Polk GOP on Wednesday, Brooks said she had already reached out to Bierfeldt for assistance with the forum before the Polk GOP officially withdrew its sponsorship.
A portion of that email is below:
“After I received your email I took the liberty of reaching out to Executive Director Steve Bierfeldt of the Republican Party of Iowa, and we will be advancing with their full support. When he heard that we might be able to use some help, Mr. Bierfeldt agreed to help out our organization in any way possible, from press releases in order to notify possible attendees, to any last minute planning for the senate debate forum, and anything in between.”
Without seeking approval from the State Central Committee, which is RPI’s board of directors, Bierfeldt publicly announced RPI’s support of the Grand View forum.
Steve Bierfeldt and many others from the “liberty” wing of the party also began blasting Polk GOP leadership on Facebook. Bierfeldt has had an adversarial relationship with the state’s largest county party for a long time.
Other “liberty” activists began spreading false rumors on social media and elsewhere after the Polk GOP’s sponsorship of the forum was withdrawn. Those criticizing or casting false aspersions on Polk GOP leadership included Liberty Iowa Executive Director Adil Khan and former Liberty Iowa Chair Kim Pearson.
Liberty Iowa PAC attempted to conduct its own U.S. Senate candidate forum last November, but the event was cancelled days before it was scheduled to take place. The group’s leaders offered varying reasons for its cancellation.
It now appears Liberty Iowa PAC will finally get it’s U.S. Senate candidate forum. One wonders if they were involved in the Grand View forum all along.
At least two of the five U.S. Senate candidates, Joni Ernst and Mark Jacobs, have declined to attend the forum. Ernst withdrew from the event after the campaign learned Jacobs was not participating and the Polk County GOP had backed out.
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