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June 14th, 2014

The Haugland Huddle

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Written by: Gabe Haugland
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Gailgate – Democratic operatives here in Iowa had their first go at throwing GOP Senate nominee Joni Ernst off message this week, and it was a pretty pathetic attempt.  Not only was the story released during a very crowded news cycle (defeat of Eric Cantor, continuing Bergdahl coverage, immigration debate, etc), but was focused on a few off-color posts on Ernst’s husband’s Facebook account.   I know Bruce Braley and Iowa Democrats are trying desperately to distract from his own record in Congress.  Obamacare and bailouts don’t give you a lot to work with!  But this negative attack reeks of desperation and I doubt many Iowa voters will make up their mind based on the comments of a candidate’s spouse.  I think voters are much more likely to judge based on each of the candidate’s own words and the words of those who are speaking specifically on behalf of their campaigns.  For instance, they might consider Braley’s own disparaging remarks directed at Iowa farmers or one of his surrogates attacking Iowa agriculture during a Braley campaign press conference.  But, I suppose Iowa Dems are desperately trying to distract from that too.  By the way, Joni isn’t the only military veteran in that family; her husband Gail served with very real “honor and distinction” in the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. The entire Ernst family has made great sacrifices for their country, and that fact shouldn’t be quickly forgotten.

Speaking of Joni Ernst – I can’t tell you how glad I am to have State Senator Joni Ernst as our nominee for the open U.S. Senate seat.  Not only is Ernst is a distinguished combat veteran, but she is also a vocal and articulate advocate for Conservative principles, which are sorely missing in Washington.  I’ve been impressed with her humble approach at trying to win over those who supported other candidates during the Primary, and I hope her hard work culminates with two Republican U.S. Senators from Iowa in Washington D.C. come January 2015.

Third District Nominating Convention – With all the controversy surrounding the Nominating Convention for the Third Congressional District, it might be time for Iowa to re-think our antiquated election run-off rules.  In many states, only the top two finishers advance to a run-off and many of those elections go before the voters again rather than to party delegates.  While it is a more expensive proposition for the state to hold another election, it is probably a more equitable means to determine the nominee.  Having a Nominating Convention a week after the State Party Convention puts undue scheduling pressure on the delegates and invites a result that many citizens may feel left out of.  While there are not rules governing who the delegates may choose, my advice would be that they aim to nominate one of the top two finishers from the primary.  Choosing a candidate who finished lower would stir a controversy our party can ill-afford heading into the fall.

The Newly De-Stachioed Hatch – Iowa’s Democrat nominee Jack Hatch made news this week by shaving his mustache, in an effort to show he is nothing like our current Governor, Terry Branstad.  But with this relatively-unknown challenger running huge deficits in both the polls and fundraising support, I hardly think this is the sort of bold move that will change voters’ minds.  Also, while I’m sure all Iowans have very distinct memories of the deficits, scandals, and incompetence we endured during the Culver/Gronstal/Hatch era, I doubt very many of us care to return to that style of governing.

That’s all for this week.  I leave you with a thought from Thomas Paine: “Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.”


About the Author

Gabe Haugland
Gabriel M. Haugland is an attorney, combat veteran, business-owner, and life-long Iowan who currently serves as the Chairman of the Cerro Gordo County Republican Party. He is also a newly-elected member of the Iowa GOP State Central Committee. His ability to lead was tested and refined as an Infantry Platoon leader in Afghanistan, and he continues to serve our country as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) Officer in the Iowa Army National Guard. An active volunteer in his church and community, Gabe also serves on the board of directors for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, Global Compassion Network, and the Caring Pregnancy Center in Mason City. Gabe holds a political science degree from the University of Iowa, as well as a law degree from Drake University. Gabe, his wife Carolyn, and their two children live in Clear Lake where he is an avid outdoorsman, hunting or fishing with family and friends whenever possible. *Disclaimer: Use of Gabriel M. Haugland’s military rank, position, or title does not imply endorsement by the Iowa National Guard, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense. All opinions are personal in nature.

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