The wackiest Iowa political story of the decade?

Friday the 13th sure was unlucky for Iowa Republicans, who must go back to the drawing board in the new Senate district 34. GOP nominee Randi Shannon dropped out of the race against Democratic State Senator Liz Mathis with a statement more bizarre than anything I can remember in major-party Iowa politics.  

Background: last year three Republicans sought the nomination in the special election to represent Iowa Senate district 18. Cindy Golding won a district nominating convention against Mary Rathje (Governor Terry Branstad’s preferred candidate) and former U.S. Attorney Matt Dummermuth. Golding then lost to Mathis, a popular former television news anchor, by a convincing 3,000 vote margin (pdf).

Iowa’s new map of political boundaries put most of the old Senate district 18 (but not the area where Golding lives) in the new Senate district 34. As of July 2012 (pdf), this district contained 13,138 registered Democrats, 13,995 Republicans, and 16,587 no-party voters. Nevertheless, Rathje and Dummermuth took a pass on the swing-district race, leaving Randi Shannon unchallenged for the GOP nomination. Shannon’s biography on her state Senate campaign website describes her as a business owner and homeschooling mother. She was also active in Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in Iowa.

Shannon’s letter announcing her withdrawal from the Senate district 34 race is dated July 4, 2012, but it didn’t hit the news until Friday the 13th, when it was posted on the Randi Shannon for Iowa Senate Facebook page. The full text with formatting is here; I enclose an excerpt. All grammatical and capitalization errors are in the original.

The Republic for Iowa

In Union With The Republic of the United States of America

July 4th, 2012

From: The Office of the Senator of the Republic of the United States of America, And The Republic for Iowa, Senator Randi Shannon

Hello everyone, my name is Randi Shannon, and I have been honored to be Iowa’s Republican Candidate for The Office of State Senator in District 34. The support I have received from so many in this district has been just incredible! I will never forget your commitment to my campaign!

I want to especially thank my fellow Ron Paul for President Supporters, My Fellow Members of Liberty, My Friends who home school as did I, the many Pro-Life Members who have been so supportive of my candidacy over these past few months, and of course all my supporters in the Republican Party who have offered me so much help and encouragement, including many Republican Office holders here in Iowa, I promise you, your efforts on My behalf will be remembered.

Let me now announce to everyone in Iowa, I have become aware of the existence of the Original Republic for The United States of America.”We the People” re-inhabited our lawful de jure (de jur- “by right of lawful establishment”) government on March 30th, 2010. This is The Republic founded in 1787 and then abandoned during The Civil War in the 1860s.

It was then replaced in 1871 by the UNITED STATES CORPORATION. (de facto-without law). This Unlawful Corporate Democracy, established by the forty-first congress, has been acting as though it is the “official government” which clearly it is not! In point of fact, it is the reason why “We the People” Instead of Experiencing Freedom and Prosperity, suffer under the weight of Oppressive Statutes and an Out of Control, Monstrous National Debt which is Robbing Us and All Future Generations of Americans of Our Treasure and Our Legacy for which Our Founding Fathers’ so Valiantly Fought and Died.

And Remember This! Where the de jure Republic of The United States of America exists the de facto UNITED STATES CORPORATION, having no standing, must go away!

Now, knowing this, and with the best interests of The People of Iowa District 34 uppermost in my heart and out of respect for my own conscience, I am here to announce that I am ending my campaign as of this  July 4th, 2012. Trust me this story does not end here nor does my commitment. In fact, my level of service to the good people of Iowa who have been so supportive of me and my campaign will be greatly increased.Please allow me to continue, because I have some great news to share with all of you! […]

Remember, THE UNITED STATES CORPORATION was changed from The Republic, and since then, we have seen a plethora of Statutes passed as if they were Law without the consent of “We the People”. With the abandonment of The Republic, and especially following 1871, the abuses of the UNITED STATES CORPORATION heaped upon the American People and the Peoples of the International Community have been inestimable and unconscionable. In this, I cannot and will not have a share! From the President on down, many of these so-called servants of the The People have repeatedly violated their oaths of Office, their fiduciary responsibilities, and in every way imaginable they’ve committed the most egregious acts against “We the People” of the United States of America and People around the world.’ They have continually violated the People’s Trust. Be fooled no longer, that Trust is broken beyond repair!

Therefore, in order to affect the most good on behalf of The People of Iowa’s 34th District and in keeping with my conscience, I have accepted the position of U.S. Senator in The Republic of The United States of America, where I may better serve You and All of The People of Iowa. I want you to know I have taken an Oath to Uphold, Support and Defend The Constitution of The United States of America. This I will do to the best of my ability, So Help Me God.

Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Todd Dorman lives in Senate district 34 and posted a funny take on Shannon’s departure.

I hope this illegitimacy thing doesn’t mean we have to forfeit a bunch of victories, like World War II or our 1980 Olympic hockey gold.

Iowa Senate Republican leader Jerry Behn should have taken questions yesterday about his failure to vet Shannon properly before the primary. Instead, he sent out his staffer Don McDowell to face the wolves. I felt sorry for McDowell (who used to write the entertaining Cyclone Conservatives blog) as he went through the talking points:

Don McDowell, spokesman for the office of the Iowa Senate Republican leadership, says the Linn County GOP will likely hold a district convention in the next couple of weeks to pick a candidate to replace Shannon on the ballot in November. He said the party has until mid-August to find a new nominee. Shannon’s formal withdrawal from the race will be filed with the Secretary of State today or Monday, he said.

“I just want to emphasize that this is a personal decision that Randi made. And I think we still have plenty of time for a replacement candidate to come forward. And I think there are a lot of issues to run on still,” said McDowell, citing what he contends are Mathis’ misguided votes on state spending, education policy and property tax reform.

At least Republicans didn’t have to deal with this fiasco in October, when it would be too late to find a viable candidate. I think Liz Mathis’ odds of being re-elected just went up, but there’s always a chance the GOP will find a much stronger challenger than Shannon. Almost anyone would be an improvement on this clown.

Shannon said she’s excited for her position with the republic and will be one of two Iowa senators, four house members, a judge and several police officers that act as “American rangers.”

She said the republic has already enacted legislation that declares life beginning at conception in addition to legislation she said she’s already voted for – establishing the aforementioned rangers.

Since what she calls the “corporation government” has enacted unconstitutional laws, the republic has constitutional enforcement officers, that you can call if you are pulled over for anything but a felony charge or for injuring someone else.

Shannon said the ranger would inform the police officer that they were violating their oath, at which point Shannon said the officer would have to comply.

When asked if she believes that a Cedar Rapids Police officer would listen to an American ranger, she had this to say:

“I do believe that they would listen to them because they know the law,” she said.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread. If you can think of a wackier Iowa political story in your lifetime, please share that in the comments.

UPDATE: The Republican Party of Iowa leadership (now almost totally controlled by Ron Paul supporters) could have used this opportunity to denounce the alternative government movement. Instead, they kicked press questions over to Senate Republican staffer McDowell.

Radio Iowa has more comments from Shannon:

“I can’t in good conscience after I knew about the republic and I did the research – which I implore everyone to do, actually go and research and find their own answers, like I did,” she says. “Reach out and speak to other people. Don’t take the existing government’s word for it, because they lie about a lot of things.”

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  • no question...

    Shannon is a complete wackadoo.

    Not a seat the republicans were going to win anyway.

  • Voting not yet over yet........

    “I have a vision for how we create layers of economic opportunity and I compare it to that salad that we take to potlucks sometimes, the seven layer salad with the mayonnaise slathered on the top that sits and foments and I don’t think we’re going to have that company on the edge of town so much anymore.”

    Close second…the above quote from Christie Vilsack on Iowa Press June 8, 2012 in a complete meltdown in front of friendly questioners.  

    • that analogy is fairly wacky

      but a poor performance in a televised interview is a common campaign event. Dropping out of a campaign in order to assume a leadership role in an alternative government is on another level of strangeness.

  • case Sensitive

    Those Odd Capitalizations aren’t “errors”; it seems in the “sovereign citizen” movement ALL CAPS and such has significance. But this is the weirdest I’ve seen in the post-Perot era…

    • she's not consistent

      in her pattern of capitalizing words. She also has a poor grasp of punctuation (like when to use a semi-colon instead of a comma). The children she has homeschooled will need to brush up on their writing skills before they enter the job market.

  • also

    There wasn’t much “vetting” the GOP could do if Shannon was the only person willing to run and get on the ballot. This is a good example of why recruiting for every seat is important.

    • they did recruit for every Senate seat

      but apparently they didn’t realize they needed to actively recruit for this one. They might have clued in if they had vetted Shannon before the filing deadline.

  • I totally love this

    HAH! Maybe there is justice in this life after all.

    Incidentally, Taegan Goddards Political Wire carried this as the second story of this morning and the by-now, well over a hundred comments are priceless.

    And an interesting question to me is; if all the amendments that came after 1871 are invalid, what in hell is a woman doing even voting much-less receiving appointment to a legislative office?

  • Not surprised

    I suspect we’ll see more of these candidates in the coming years with Rand Paul staying on the scene.  This isn’t the Harry Browne/white collar intellectual type of libertarian scene.  This brand has more of a “UFOs have landed” type of strange, populist feel to it.  

    Pearson made it to the legislature mind you..LOL

  • I feel bad for those kids she is home schooling. n/t

    • I feel bad for any kids who are home schooled.

      I know one, and he has zero social skills and is still living with his parents.  He believes that the earth is 6000 years old, and so forth.  He’s bright.  It’s sad.

      • many homeschooled kids do quite well

        and are not isolated socially. There are lots of different reasons for homeschooling, and not all the parents are trying to shield their kids from science or history. (One friend gets the homeschool work out of the way in 2-3 hours each morning, leaving afternoons free for outings or downtime or sports/ballet/gymnastics.) Many parents are using curriculum materials that are better than what’s standard in public schools (e.g. Singapore math). Not my choice, but not harmful.

        I do worry about parents homeschooling when they don’t have strong reading or writing skills themselves.