For the first time since 2002, a special district convention will select an Iowa Congressional nominee. (Steve King snagged the nomination in IA-05 that year after none of the four Republican candidates reached the 35 percent threshold.) After the jump I've posted the unofficial results from yesterday's six-way primary in IA-03 and my thoughts on who takes the strongest case to convention delegates who
will meet on June 21 at Creston High School. UPDATE: Creston will not be the location after all; Iowa GOP leaders are scrambling to find a new location and date. More details below.
Spin your own IA-03 scenarios in this thread. I'm curious to see how Democratic candidate Staci Appel responds to this unusual situation. Will she start building a narrative against one or more of the contenders, or hold her fire until after June 21?
Speaking to WHO-TV last night, Zaun was asked why he deserves the nomination. He pointed out that he got the most votes despite being outspent by several other candidates, and he is "battle-tested" after his 2010 Congressional bid.
I can't imagine why IA-03 delegates would pick Zaun. As a second-time candidate, he should be showing some improvement. Instead, he raised less money this year than he did during the same period of his first Congressional campaign. He also received fewer votes: 10,578 out of just under 43,000 ballots cast yesterday, as opposed to 19,469 votes out of 50,270 cast in the 2010 primary. Zaun had his chance.
Cramer has a compelling case to make with delegates. He didn't finish far behind Zaun, he can unite the business wing and social conservatives, and he's proven that he can raise enough money to run district-wide. But he is closely associated with Bob Vander Plaats, not everyone's favorite in Iowa GOP circles.
I doubt delegates will give Schultz a serious look. Too much baggage.
Although Shaw finished in fourth place, I still think there's a chance he could be the last man standing after multiple ballots at a district convention.
Young seems highly capable and is arguably best-prepared for the job, but he has been away from Iowa too many years. He doesn't have the relationships with party activists that some of the others have.
UPDATE: Don McDowell posted on Twitter June 4,
First #IA03 call received: @ShawGOP @IowansforShaw. Missed it but nice personal voicemail from Monte
That's how it's done. And it works better if you have a longstanding acquaintance with the delegates you're contacting.
SECOND UPDATE: The Iowa Republican's Kevin Hall reported on June 5 that Southwestern Community College Creston was double-booked for June 21, and GOP leaders determined that Creston High School would not be large enough for the convention.
At least four of the six candidates in the Third Congressional District race sent a letter to Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Danny Carroll on Wednesday, asking that the special nominating convention be moved from June 21 in Creston to June 14 in Des Moines, following the Iowa GOP state convention. Brad Zaun, Matt Schultz, Robert Cramer and David Young signed on to the letter.
A conference call involving Chairman Carroll and the four members of the SCC for the Third District that will begin their tenure on June 14 (Frederick, Whisenand, Brenna Findley and Bill Gustoff) took place Wednesday night to discuss the letter from the candidates. For various reasons, party officials decided holding the Third District special convention after the June 14 GOP state convention was not feasible. They unanimously agreed to keep the event in Creston.
After Creston High School was ruled out Thursday afternoon, another conference call was held with SCC members, party officials and representatives from the six campaigns.
The Des Moines Register's William Petroski reported on the spin from several candidates seeking the nomination:
"I'm very happy where I am at. I am in first place," Zaun said. He added that he's already called all the convention delegates, anticipating the possibility the nomination could go to a convention.
Schultz, a former Eagle Scout, said he was always taught to be prepared and he'll be ready for the convention vote. "I look forward to talking to each and every delegate about our campaign and my record as a proven conservative fighter," he added.
Shaw described the convention as a "clean slate" where new rules will apply. "We've got to put forward a candidate that can withstand the liberal attack machine," Shaw said.
Cramer described himself as a businessman who has created jobs and as a political outsider - making him the candidate best equipped to win in November. Meanwhile, Young said he was humbled by the support he received Tuesday from 3rd District voters. "I look forward to building on those relationships over the course of the next couple of weeks and gaining the support of a majority of the delegates," Young said.
Speaking on Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" program June 6, Steve King suggested that runoff elections would be preferable to special nominating conventions.
"I may want to wait until after the convention to put a final word on that, but if you'd asked me last year I would have said here's what we need to do: the 35 percent number is fine, because it makes sure that you nominate someone who is a fairly strong candidate, but I would rather go to a run-off rather than a special nominating convention," King said, "an run-off that is set in a short period of time, say two weeks and get it over with."
King suggests there's too much possibility to mischief at a nominating convention.
"If you finished first in the primary, then it's like a game of 'King of the Hill'. Everybody is trying to pull you off of that and they look at what kind of deals they can make - if I lose, I'll support so and so," King said. "Those kind of things and the longer it goes, the more opportunity there is for that. Now I don't think there was a lot going on in the convention I went through and I don't anticipate it here, but the rules allow for too many things that make me a little nervous."
Republican Party rules allow anyone to be nominated at the district convention on the 14th, but King does not expect anyone other than the candidates who ran in the primary to be nominated.
There would be tremendous bad blood if delegates nominated someone who had not even campaigned for the Congressional seat.