Iowa Republican Party convention open thread

The Iowa GOP convenes today after flooding derailed its originally scheduled state convention last month. John Deeth is liveblogging the proceedings over at his blog.

Please share any thoughts you have about the Republicans’ prospects or strategies in our state.

By the way, Deeth wrote an interesting post on the uncontested races for the Iowa House and Senate. Republicans left one Democratic state senator and 20 Democratic state representatives without a challenger. Democrats failed to field a candidate in six Republican-held Senate districts and 10 House districts.

UPDATE: David Yepsen notes that Mike Huckabee’s presence signals he may run for president in 2012 if John McCain loses to Barack Obama this year. Yepsen also sees the Iowa GOP moving to the right:

Steve Scheffler, the head of the Iowa Christian Alliance, easily ousted longtime national committee member Steve Roberts by a vote of 788 to 543.  Kim Lehman, the head of the Iowa Right to Life, defeated state Rep. Sandy Greiner for the job of national committeewoman by a vote of 729 to 484.

Roberts and Greiner were seen as the older, more centrist candidates who sought to make the party a big tent that appealed to a wide, diverse group of people.  Scheffler and Lehman said the party needed to take strong stands on social issues in order to attract voters and inspire workers.  Yet centrists argue these positions turn off independents and mainstream voters needed to win elections.

At one level, their election is further evidence of the rightward drift of the Iowa GOP and how it’s been hijacked by a narrow ideological faction that sometimes seems bent on turning the GOP into a church instead of a political party.

But it’s also a recognition that the party machinery is in sad shape and some Republicans want a shake-up in management.  While Scheffler and Lehman are most definitely on the right hand side of the spectrum, they are also respected for their organizational skills.

The desire for new management bodes ill for state party chairman Stewart Iverson when the central committee meets after the November election to elect a chair for the coming year.  (He just replaced Ray Hoffman as party chair, has little time to right the organizational ship, but will still take the rap for any Republican defeats in the fall.)

Polk County GOP chairman Ted Sporer, who is allied with Scheffler and Lehman supporters, is making noises about challenging Iverson if he runs.

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