Ron Paul loyalist resigns as Iowa GOP candidate for elector (updated)

One of the Republican Party of Iowa's candidates for elector resigned yesterday after indicating that she would cast her electoral college ballot for Ron Paul in the event that Mitt Romney wins Iowa this November.

Iowa has six votes in the electoral college, so the Iowa Democratic Party and Iowa GOP each selected six candidates for elector earlier this year. Casting a ballot in the electoral college is an honor usually given to office-holders or longtime party activists.

Typically, it goes without saying that candidates for elector plan to vote for their party's presidential nominee. But in yet another sign of the Ron Paul faction's total domination of the Iowa Republican convention process, Melinda Wadsley was selected as a candidate for elector from Iowa's fourth district. She was one of three candidates for elector from around the country featured in this Associated Press story published on September 13:

"They've never given Ron Paul a fair shot, and I'm disgusted with that. I'd like to show them how disgusted I am," said Melinda Wadsley, an Iowa mother of three who was selected as a Republican elector earlier this year. She said Paul is the better choice and noted that the Electoral College was founded with the idea that electors wouldn't just mimic the popular vote.

Wadsley's words didn't sit well with Republicans, because if Romney wins a close race, even a few "faithless electors" could keep him from reaching the 270 votes needed in the electoral college. By yesterday afternoon, Iowa GOP Chair A.J. Spiker had announced her resignation "effective immediately." Wadsley explained to the Associated Press,

I have always been a straight-ticket Republican, and for the first time in my life I am an undecided voter, therefore, I need to resign my position as a Republican presidential elector.

Like John Deeth, I feel sympathy for the Romney campaign staffer who "has to comb through the elector slates in every state Romney could convceivably win," looking for potential faithless electors.

That person won't need to worry about the other Iowa candidates for elector. Activist Joni Scotter endorsed Romney before the Iowa caucuses. State Senators Mark Chelgren and Jack Whitver both supported Michele Bachmann for president but told the Des Moines Register yesterday that they are committed to supporting Romney in the electoral college. Ditto for Iowa Finance Authority Director David Jamison, who caucused for Rick Santorum. The last Iowa candidate for elector, Kurt Brown, was also a Santorum supporter. He told Jennifer Jacobs that he's "99 percent committed to Romney" but is still studying the rules. My hunch: that means Brown is a solid vote for Romney if his vote is needed to help Romney get to 270 in the electoral college. However, if Romney wins Iowa while losing the electoral college to President Barack Obama, it sounds like Brown might consider casting his ballot for Santorum on December 17.

This fiasco hasn't helped the Iowa GOP's image, but there's not a lot detractors can do about it, since Paul supporters have a solid bloc on the party's State Central Committee.

P.S. - I received this press release from the Liberty Iowa PAC on September 14:

Iowa Liberty Elector Resigns

RNC leaves Republican voters disenfranchised

Chantilly, VA - Melinda Wadsley, Director of Development for Liberty Iowa has resigned her position as presidential elector for the Republican Party. Melinda is a life long Republican from Iowa and has always voted straight ticket.

The recent decision to resign was in response to a request from A.J. Spiker, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.

"The Iowa GOP has made it clear they will work tirelessly to ensure all 6 electoral votes go for Romney. As I can no longer in good conscious vote for Romney, I feel the need to step aside, out of respect for A.J. and the Republican Party of Iowa."

Many liberty supporters have expressed outrage after the events that occurred at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

"I am highly disappointed with both the Romney campaign and the RNC for actions taken at the Republican National Convention" said Melinda Wadsley. "They lost a valuable opportunity to unite the party and welcome the grassroots supporters into their ranks."

The RNC passed rules that would limit the grassroots effort and would allow presidential campaigns more authority on delegates chosen.  This centralization of authority is causing lifelong Republicans, such as Melinda, to question the direction the party has moved.

"Nothing like this has ever happened before in living memory at a Republican National Convention." said Morton Blackwell, the youngest delegate for Goldwater in 1964 and Special Assistant to President Reagan for Public Liaison.

"The liberty movement is only getting bigger and stronger, for this reason we at Liberty Iowa will continue to work within the Republican Party," said Adil Khan, Interim Executive Director of Liberty Iowa. "It is vital that we bring disenfranchised liberty voters back to the Republican Party as a vital base of conservative grassroots."              

LATE UPDATE: On September 22, the Republican Party of Iowa's State Central Committee chose Lanny Hustedt as the new candidate for elector in the fourth Congressional district.

Hustedt finished second in the balloting behind Melinda Wadsley at the district convention. [...]

Hustedt told TheIowaRepublican that Mitt Romney can count on his "100 percent" support. "I'm very humbled by it," Hustedt said. "It's an important job and I just felt that most people put their names in for delegates or alternates, so I decided to do this."

Iowa has six electoral votes. Hustedt won on the first ballot with nine votes. He is a former chairman of the Wright County GOP and co-chair of the O'Brien County GOP. Lyon County GOP Chair Cody Hoefert garnered five votes. The other two went to college Republican Josh Streif.

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