Will Steve Bierfeldt ever work in Iowa Republican politics again?

The Republican Party of Iowa’s former executive director Steve Bierfeldt is not helping new leaders gain access to “the party’s social media accounts, email lists, voter rolls email accounts, donor lists and even online access to the bank account.” On July 4, the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs highlighted the lack of new posts on the Iowa GOP’s official website and Facebook and Twitter accounts. I had noticed the party’s lack of activity on social media but did not imagine new leaders were literally locked out. At this writing, the Iowa GOP twitter account is back in service, but the most recent Facebook post is still dated June 13.

The party’s new executive director, Chad Olsen, repeatedly asked Bierfeldt for help with passwords in e-mails quoted by Jacobs. This morning, the conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts quoted Olsen as saying, “We are making progress on our own, directly with individual companies, which can be a slow and deliberate process.  The previous executive director (Steve Bierfeldt) still has not provided any additional information….”

Bierfeldt joined the Iowa GOP’s staff shortly after Ron Paul loyalists gained most party leadership positions in 2012. He agreed in May of this year to resign effective June 14, when the Iowa GOP’s new State Central Committee would take control. One of Iowa’s representatives on the Republican National Committee, Tamara Scott, hinted during a contentious State Central Committee meeting on June 28 that ousted state party chair Danny Carroll was working on a “peaceable and professional” exit strategy for Bierfeldt, “something you want when your E.D. has your passwords, your files and your database and is the architect of your upcoming state convention.” Bierfeldt apparently told Olsen last week that “he’d been told to delete all of the Iowa GOP files on his computer, so he no longer had the spreadsheet with all the passwords.”

I’ve been downsized, so I empathize with feeling frustrated after losing a good job. But to sabotage your successor’s work is incredibly immature and unprofessional. Bierfeldt should not be able to get another political or campaign job after this episode. Nevertheless, my money’s on someone bringing him on board with the Rand Paul presidential campaign, or perhaps some PAC affiliated with Paul or the “Liberty” movement.

UPDATE: Added more details below. The longer this drags on, the worse Bierfeldt looks.

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Weekend open thread: Midsummer edition

What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome. The big political news was the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee passing a no-confidence motion in top leaders and electing former Iowa House Speaker Jeff Kaufmann as new party chair, with Cody Hoefert as co-chair. Radio Iowa has the audio of Kaufmann’s speech to the committee, a spirited and a bit defensive case for changing leaders at this time. Too bad the party now has a team at the top whom major donors will support. The Iowa Republican live-blogged the State Central Committee meeting. Shane Vander Hart has video of remarks by several committee members. UPDATE: Added more commentary on the Republican Party leadership change below. Apparently Chad Olsen is returning as Iowa GOP executive director, which is good news for Republicans, since he knows a lot more about GOTV than the outgoing staff.

With the July 4 long weekend coming up, many people will be planning celebrations outdoors. Unfortunately, heavy rain has caused flooding affecting many Iowa parks, roads and trails in low-lying areas. With any luck we’ll get a few dry days before next weekend.

Excess nutrients (primarily runoff from conventional agriculture) can cause algal blooms in waterways. Ponds and lakes affected by the overgrowth of algae are unfortunately not safe even for pets, let alone humans.

Most fireworks remain illegal to buy or sell in Iowa, despite efforts by some statehouse Republicans to pass a bill this year, which would have legalized them for the first time since the 1930s. There wasn’t broad-based support for the bill. Playing with sparklers, which are legal, as well as fireworks purchased from neighboring states, contributes to a surge in eye injuries around July 4.

For those planning to march in parades on behalf of local candidates or political groups, enjoy your outreach and try to keep your message positive.

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Branstad's chief of staff Jeff Boeyink to step down

Governor Terry Branstad will be shopping for a new chief of staff for the first time since the 1990s. Jeff Boeyink announced today that he is stepping down for an unspecified private sector job, effective September 6. After many years with the conservative advocacy group Iowans for Tax Relief, Boeyink briefly served as executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa before leaving to manage Branstad’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. After the 2010 election, Boeyink co-chaired the governor’s transition team, and he has served as chief of staff ever since.

I’ve posted the press release from the governor’s office after the jump. Note the careful mention of Branstad’s “potential” re-election bid, and the conspicuous effort to mention Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds’ name and title as often as possible. The governor’s re-election campaign has engaged in similar branding of the Branstad-Reynolds “team,” fueling rumors in some circles that Reynolds will become the last-minute gubernatorial candidate next spring.

The Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs listed some possible successors to Boeyink. The governor’s legal counsel Brenna Findley used to serve as Representative Steve King’s chief of staff before she ran for Iowa attorney general in 2010. David Roederer has long been in Branstad’s inner circle and now heads the Iowa Department of Management. Former Iowa GOP staffer Chad Olsen is currently chief of staff for Secretary of State Matt Schultz. Michael Bousselot has been advising Branstad on health care and other issues. Sara Craig was state director of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in Iowa before the 2012 caucuses. Matt Hinch has held many political jobs and is now senior vice president of government relations and public policy for the Greater Des Moines Partnership. I can’t imagine that Doug Gross would want to go back to the job he held nearly 30 years ago. Former Iowa GOP Chair Matt Strawn is busy with his new consulting and lobbying firm.

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