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January 11th, 2015

Kevin’s Korner: The Straw Poll that Stirs, No Bull and Crazy Uncle Joe

straw poll crowd

Greetings and welcome to Kevin’s Korner. I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take a butcher’s word for it.

As I foretold here on the Korner last week, there will be an Ames Iowa Straw Poll this year. But it might not be in Ames Iowa State University has price gouged the Republican Party of Iowa for use of their facilities in the past ($250,000 in 2011), so the state party is considering moving the event elsewhere. The Farm Progress Show site in Boone and the Iowa State Fairgrounds are two other possibilities …

All the talk of ending the Iowa Straw Poll was pretty overblown. Yes, the governor and others spoke out in favor of ending it, but I didn’t hear any alternatives that would be legitimate replacements for an event of the scale and scope of the event that RPI has put on since 1979 … And no, four regional events was not a viable alternative …

I do think the comments by Governor Branstad diminish the importance of the event. However, now that it’s on, Branstad has already pledged to help lure presidential candidates to the event and help in any other way that he can …

And it’s not like Branstad was the first Iowa official to denigrate the event. When Big Liberty acolyte A.J. Spiker was RPI chairman, he said, “It’s a straw poll. It doesn’t mean anything” …

Remember those words when Spiker and Big Liberty spend tens of thousands trying to boost Rand Paul to victory at the Straw Poll this summer …

I’m pretty sure this guy isn’t a fan of the Iowa Straw Poll either:

Pawlenty straw poll

Personally, I think it’s smart for most presidential campaigns to participate in the Iowa Straw Poll. It’s a great way to get organized well in advance of the Iowa Caucus. The key is to not pull a Pawlenty and invest everything into the Straw Poll. T-Paw had no money left after placing a disappointing third in Ames. If his campaign hadn’t wasted it all, he might have been a viable threat at some point. Every other candidate rose to the top.

Bye, bye Steak Fry, hello Roast and Ride. It seems Joni Ernst plans to replace Tom Harkin’s annual Democrat hootenanny with a conservative one of her own, replete with a hog roast and Harleys. Details of the event are pending, but it’ll be June 6 in Iowa. It sounds like a fun event that will outrage liberals, making it even better …

graham Ernst  castration gift

So, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham gives Joni Ernst an animal castration device on a plaque for her new U.S. Senate office. Nice thought, but the device is used for castrating bulls, not hogs. As best as I can recall, the ad didn’t say, “Make ‘em moo!” …

Ernst’s ascension to the U.S. Senate is historic in many ways and an absolute pleasure to witness. Making it the exact opposite of Joe Biden’s douchebaggery during the mock swearing in ceremony. Calling Joni Ernst by her husband’s name was one of the least embarrassing things Crazy Uncle Joe did during that session.

You think foreign leaders laugh at Obama, just remember, Crazy Uncle Joe is one heartbeat from the presidency. Yikes.


Who else wanted to be a fly on the wall at wherever Bruce Braley was hiding out when he found out Chuck Grassley was officially named the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee? Somehow, I doubt he was toasting his Texas trial lawyer pals.

Did Rod Blum do the right thing when he voted against John Boehner for House speaker? Politically, no. He hurt his chances of getting reelected in 2016. But more importantly, Blum did what he thought was right, whether the party helps him in 2016 or not. Good for him

Congressman David Young did explain his reasons for voting in favor of Boehner, but Young’s press shop isn’t fully up to snuff yet, so the release didn’t go far. Here’s the new Third District representative’s explanation:

“The election for Speaker of the House is not a popularity contest, it is a serious leadership election that determines who will have the job of leading the chamber of 435 duly elected representatives of the American people. I reached out to the three publically announced candidates in the past day and personally interviewed each of them for the job. It was only after those thoughtful conversations that I decided to vote for Congressman John Boehner. Regardless of who is Speaker of the House, I am here only to serve and represent the people of the State of Iowa.

“I commend all the members who stepped up to run for this important office. This great institution will only be better because of their candidacy. And, while there were many differing opinions about this vote, from the numerous conversations I had with my constituents and other members of the House it was clear that we are all unified in wanting the best for this great nation and her people.”


Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is the latest presidential hopeful to sign up for Congressman King’s big Iowa Freedom Summit event on January 24. I’m wondering if this event will be more star-studded than the Ames Iowa Straw Poll

The line up also includes Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, John Bolton, Newt Gingrich, Mike Lee, Carly Fiorina, Jim Demint and more …

The all-day event is beyond sold out. I’m told the waiting list has grown to 800 … I also think Hoyt Sherman Place is a terrible venue for this event. As nice as the theatre is, the building’s set up, lack of parking and limited size are going to be very unaccommodating, methinks.

gas prices falling

Gas prices are suddenly affordable, so what do politicians on both sides of the aisle want to do? Raise our costs, of course. The gas tax will be a very hotly debated topic in both the Iowa Legislature and the U.S. Congress this year. Enjoy the cheap gas while you can. It won’t last.

The Iowa legislative session kicks off this week. What’s your pet project for 2015? Personally, since my fellow GOP delegates failed me in my quest to add a Save the Gingers plank to the state platform, I’m taking the effort to the next level …

I’ll be lobbying the Iowa House and Iowa Senate to stop the hate against me and my fellow redheads in hopes they can come together in a bipartisan effort to Save the Gingers before we are extinct. Who’s with me?

That’s it for this week. Thanks for dropping by. Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

Photos by Dave Davidson,

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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