Weekend open thread: GOP state convention edition

The Republican Party of Iowa held its state convention today, but it wasn’t the unity-fest Terry Branstad was hoping for.

Representative Steve King nominated Kim Reynolds for lieutenant governor, and Reynolds emphasized socially conservative stands in her speech to the convention. Former gubernatorial candidate Rod Roberts declined efforts to nominate him for lieutenant governor, endorsing the Branstad/Reynolds ticket.

State Representative Dwayne Alons (not the sharpest knife in the Republican drawer) nominated Bob Vander Plaats for lieutenant governor, saying, “This nomination is not about one person, one man or one individual. I believe I am speaking for a grassroots effort that has been going on since the beginning of Bob’s campaign.” Vander Plaats took up the challenge:

“I fully understand and respect Gov. Branstad’s ability to recommend to [the delegates] who he wants as his lieutenant governor,” Vander Plaats said in an address to the Republican Party of Iowa Convention. “But it would be hypocritical of me to spend more than a year championing government by the people, of the people and for the people and then ignore the will of the people.”

The final delegate vote was 749 for Reynolds, 579 for Vander Plaats. I’m surprised Reynolds only managed about 56 percent of the delegate votes. I expected her to do better, especially after State Rep Kent Sorenson endorsed Reynolds for lieutenant governor last night. Sorenson thinks Chuck Grassley is too moderate and was such a passionate supporter of Vander Plaats for governor that he vowed in January never to vote for Branstad under any circumstances. As far as I know, Sorenson still hasn’t officially endorsed Branstad for governor, but I imagine he will have to do so if he doesn’t want to lose moderate Republican support in his campaign for Iowa Senate district 37 this fall. I stand by my prediction that Vander Plaats won’t run for governor as an independent.

Branstad made a lot of promises in his speech to Republican delegates. For instance, he again said he’ll veto any budget that spends more than 99 percent of projected state revenues. When will Branstad show Iowans how he would have balanced the current-year budget without using any money from federal stimulus funds or the state reserves?

Branstad promised to reverse former Governor Tom Vilsack’s executive order allowing convicted felons to get their voting rights back, although this liveblog suggests he wrongly attributed that executive order to current Governor Chet Culver. Putting more restrictions on voting rights would help Iowa Republicans, in part because of the enormous racial disparity in Iowa prisons. I would like more details on whether Branstad would let any felons apply for their voting rights. If his running mate deserved the chance to stay in public life after two drunk driving citations, then surely others who have served their time should have the chance to exercise their voting rights.

This thread is for anything on your mind this weekend. Anyone spent time at the downtown art festival? I hope to swing by tomorrow after I hit the art show at the fairgrounds.

UPDATE: Your unintentional comedy of the day comes from The Iowa Republican blog’s top story for Monday, titled, “A Stronger Republican Party Emerges From Contentious Convention”. Here’s the lead paragraph by Craig Robinson:

Don’t believe what you are reading in the newspaper or what you are seeing on the local news. The Republican Party in Iowa isn’t divided. It’s not coming off of a contentious convention. It matured and now is poised to make huge gains in November.

But Craig, you just described the convention as “contentious” in your own headline. How anyone  would try to spin Saturday’s events as the sign of a party not divided is completely beyond me.

Branstad had some tough words for Vander Plaats on Monday: “Remember that the person who opposed [Reynolds] for the nomination has been running here for 10 years, has probably spoken to everyone in that room 10 times,” Branstad said. “We took the risk of going to the most conservative base of our party, and we won it fair and square, just like I won the primary fair and square.”

The head of Mike Huckabee’s HUCK PAC, Hogan Gidley, told the Washington Post, “It would be disrespectful to Mr. Vander Plaats and to many of Governor Huckabee’s friends and supporters in Iowa if he were to endorse Governor Branstad without Mr. Vander Plaat’s [sic] having already done so.”

Meanwhile, the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s Todd Dorman wins the prize for headline of the week: “Branstad Handles the Vander Pout.”

About the Author(s)


  • GOP convention went smoothly

    Despite living in Minnesota and working to elect the first Female Governor in the state of Minn, I was able to still keep track of what was going on. Thank You twitter, Iowa Independent, Steve Deace and many more.

    The most hilarious tweet came via Chairman Matt Strawn who said and I quote:

    Thanks too to all the hardworking @IowaGOP and Victory staff and interns for all their efforts in a smoothly ran convention.

    I was entering data when I read this tweet and just about fell out of my chair and laughed my ass off. “Smoothly”?….Don’t kid yourself Chairman Strawn, You had a mutiny in your hands and a all out party-civil war. If this BVP problem ISN’T fixed soon, you can bet that there will be anywhere between 10-15% of conservatives who will sti this election out. If BVP does run as an indepdent he should at least get 20% of the Republican vote.

    Seriously? “smoothly”? No Chairman Strawn, your GOP convention wasn’t “smooth”. YOu know what’s smooth? Frank Sinatra music, Velvet, Brazilian soccer players, Tina fey (comedianne smooth) Ice Cream.

    I wanted to look back into historical events that have occurred in the past 200 yrs, in which chairman Strawn would of thought “went smoothly”.

    The Civil War- That was a smooth Gentleman’s argument. Really, it was a smooth way to really vent and was nothing more than sibling rivalry.

    Teddy Roosevelt not seeking a 3rd term and endorsing Taft- Really this was a smooth transition from one of the most progressive presidents EVER. He picked taft thinking he would continue to fight for the progressive values he had worked so hard for 8yrs. Smoothly, he retired and went off to africa to kill lions. …Smoothly the country became a bastion for progressiveness, right?

    1968 Democratic Conventions- That was run Smoothly.

    1984 Reagan ass kicking of Mondale- That too was a smoothly run Democratic campaign.

    1988 Republican Convention- Read my Lips No More Taxes. EPIC Smooth Line. How did that go GWHB? Smoooth baby, like butta.

    1988 Person who thought it was a smooth idea to put Dukakis in a tank- Smooth.

    2008 Presidential Debates- How smooth was the town hall debate, the one where everyone thought that Mccain had the upper hand? How smooth was it, seeing grandpa move around like he was looking for a lost puppy? Smooth baby, like viagra.

    anyways, just wanted to rant about this “smooth” bull—- that Chairman Strawn decided to push. Specially since when the Iowa Democrats had their convention, they happen to plaster all over thebeanwalker.com and twitter that we Democrats didn’t have our “stuff” together and we were spinning out of control.

    Ugh, is Novemeber here yet? Maybe, I’ll just vote for Narcisse.

    • it is amazing

      when you consider that they had Kim Lehman and Steve Scheffler robocall convention delegates on behalf of Reynolds, and they had Steve King officially place Reynolds’ name in nomination, yet she still only got 56 percent of the delegates’ votes. Unreal. Also, there was some kind of snafu with the credentialing of delegates–not exactly smooth.

      • Does Terry really want to go there on the felon thing?

        Roxanne was guilty of a DUI as well, but do Terry and his son really want to go there?  I don’t want to have to play dirty.  

        • I was thinking the same thing

          technically, his son was never convicted of a felony, but he certainly got a second and a third chance to participate in society.