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October 22nd, 2014

RPI Reagan Dinner Focuses on the Future

Regan DinnerIt was no surprise that Tuesday night’s Republican Party of Iowa Ronald Reagan Dinner was an optimistic and enthusiastic affair.   With the election just two weeks away, Iowa Republicans were in high spirits on Tuesday, but the unity on display in Des Moines last night wasn’t always a sure thing.

The leadership change at the Republican Party of Iowa that occurred four months ago has focused the party on its core mission of winning elections.  The leadership team of Chairman Jeff Kauffman and Cody Hoefert that promised to raise $300,000 by September announced that they have raised $500,000 since taking over.  More impressive is the Republican Party of Iowa’s early voting program this year.

Kaufmann announced last night that Republicans only trail Democrats in returned absentee ballots by 321.  That is an amazing development for a party that has struggled for years when it comes absentee and early voting.

Chairman Kaufman reminded attendees at the beginning of the event that last night’s dinner wasn’t about the Republican Party of Iowa, but about the future and the change that is coming on November 4th.  Later, Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen began his remarks by saying that the 2014 ticket is the finest statewide ballot he has ever run on.  Speaker after speaker last night confirmed Paulsen’s statement.

With so many speakers, it’s impossible to summarize everything that was said last night.  Every candidate who took the stage did a great job, but here are a few that stood out to me.

State Representative Pat Grassley:  Grassley introduced Chairman Kaufmann at the event and in that limited capacity didn’t say much.  Yet, putting Grassley in the spotlight will only help raise his stature beyond the Iowa Statehouse and his home district.  Grassley was relaxed and confident, which means many in attendance are probably wondering what his political future holds.

Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks:  Miller-Meeks provided what might be my favorite quote of the night.  “It’s the Republican Party that is the party of those who have been successful and those who want to be successful.”  That, my friends, is exactly what the Republican Party is about.  We need to talk more about it.

Secretary of State Matt Schultz:  He is on his way out as Iowa’s Secretary of State, but the always-energetic Schultz took the stage to promote the candidacy of Paul Pate.  Schultz also criticized Pate’s Democrat opponent, Brad Anderson, who served as President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager in Iowa.  Schultz also did Pate a favor by mentioning that it was one of Anderson’s employees who pled guilty to stealing his identity.  Schultz did a good job helping Iowa Republicans understand what’s on the line in the Secretary of State election.

Congressman Steve King:  Many of the candidates walked to the stage while one of their TV ads played on the big screen. In the past two election cycles, no candidate in Iowa has run better TV ads than Steve King has.

Congressman Tom Latham: Latham is the epitome of charm and class.  Latham opened with a few jokes.  His best was when he said that the happiest man in America today is Jimmy Carter, because President Obama is making him look good.  Latham then transitioned to a very heartfelt thank you to the Republican Party of Iowa and all the people who helped him over the years.

Latham recounted his path to congress, which began with him being a county central committee member, County Chairman, and then State Central Committee member.  Yet, the most poignant moment of his remarks was when he explained what the families of the candidates go through when their loved ones run for political office.

Senator Chuck Grassley:  Grassley used his time to explain to the crowd how the U.S. Senate will be different if Joni Ernst is a U.S. Senator.  Grassley talked about how, if the GOP takes control, any Senator, Republican or Democrats, will be allowed to file an amendment.  He talked about how Senator Reid is an autocrat, and why that’s bad for America.  Grassley explained how, when Joni Ernst is in the U.S. Senate, it will once again be a deliberative body that protects the minority party’s rights.

State Senator Joni Ernst:  Ernst talked about how her favorite thing to do is to travel the state and visit the farms, factories, and small towns across the state.  Ernst talked about “the Iowa way,” how Iowans acknowledge when there is a problem and then roll up their sleeves and work hard to find the proper solutions.







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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