Jeff Kaufmann and Cody Hoefert likely to be next Iowa GOP leaders

Former Iowa House Speaker Pro Tem Jeff Kaufmann appears likely to be chosen as the next state chair of the Republican Party of Iowa this weekend. Kaufmann has been rumored to be angling for that position ever since he was elected to the party's new State Central Committee this spring. He made his plans official in an e-mail sent to fellow State Central Committee members yesterday. Excerpts are after the jump. Kaufmann served four terms in the Iowa House before retiring in 2012. His son, Bobby Kaufmann, currently represents the same district.

Lyon County Republican Chair Cody Hoefert announced yesterday that he is running for state party co-chair. Excerpts from his e-mail are at the end of this post.

Immediately after their terms began on June 14, the majority of new State Central Committee members signed a letter calling for a meeting on June 28 to elect a new chair and co-chair. Danny Carroll and Gopal Krishna have served in those positions since late March.

Some party activists are upset that the new State Central Committee isn't giving Carroll a chance to show he can lead. A former state lawmaker and close ally of Bob Vander Plaats, Carroll is popular with social conservatives. At least two GOP county central committees (Jasper and Warren Counties) have passed non-binding votes of no confidence in the State Central Committee's plan to vote on new leaders. I recommend watching or listening to the video of Republican National Committeeman Steve Scheffler's remarks to Jasper County Republican Central Committee members, followed by comments from the audience and the no-confidence vote. Scheffler repeatedly brought up the need for the state party to improve its fundraising, and argued that past chair A.J. Spiker created this problem by resigning in March rather than making his resignation effective on June 14, when the new State Central Committee was seated. He also suggested that Carroll should have agreed to resign his position, an assertion that angered some Jasper County activists.

Excerpt from Jeff Kaufmann's June 23 e-mail to fellow State Central Committee members (emphasis in original):

I appreciate the encouragement I have had to run, and I am also grateful for the strong support from the Second District to become a member of the State Central Committee in April. In my effort to become a member of the State Central Committee, I had the unqualified support of all 53 members of the Iowa House of Representatives as well as many other state, local, and federal officeholders. Most importantly it is the grassroots support I value most and they are my reason for running for the SCC and as Chair. [...]

I am a Seventh Generation livestock farmer in Cedar County/Wilton.  I am also an instructor and Department Chair at Muscatine Community College where I teach History and Government.

I was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 2004 in one of the most expensive and active races in Iowa that cycle. I represented a true swing district and during half of my time in the Legislature, the District had more Democrats than Republicans. My extensive experience and current roles in local politics will also help me to understand the dynamics and importance of party politics at the precinct and county level. [...]

I am running for Chairperson for a variety of reasons. Some of my major goals include:

(1) Fundraising levels have not been acceptable. This must change and will change.

(2) I also believe that the State Central Committee is not a clearing house for any one candidate or interest group. It should be the vehicle where grass roots Republicans help Republicans get elected to office. It is the job of the State Central Committee to translate the goals, beliefs, and issues of Iowa Republicans to a statewide platform and a party where we expand our base without sacrificing principle.

(3) I believe both our staffing at RPI headquarters and in the field must increase and be enhanced in order to win elections in the fall. This could possibly include satellite offices in eastern and western Iowa.

(4) We MUST expand the party. Young people, Hispanic Iowans, African Americans, conservative union members, conservative teachers...we must fight for new members and not cede any population as belonging to the Democratic Party alone.

(5) Adopt a more aggressive communications posture centered on promoting Republican candidates as well as communication to our District and county committees.

(6) Establish a more aggressive Voter Contact operation centered on volunteer recruitment as well as promotion of our candidates and policies to No Party voters.

Excerpt from Cody Hoefert's June 23 e-mail to State Central Committee members:

I live in Lyon County with my wife, of 14 years, Jennifer and our four beautiful children. I am a small business owner and active leader in our community and our state. I have served as the Lyon county Republican chairman for the past 5 years. It is with great pride that I share some of our accomplishments. We have started voter outreach programs using all forms of media as well as traditional get out the vote operations. This has allowed us to consistently rate in the top 5 counties in Iowa in net margin of Republican victory. We have built a strong fundraising apparatus at the local level and last year hosted a multi county event that included over 350 guests, national media, as well as a streamlined program including both state and national political figures. This event allowed us to raise a net of greater then $20,000. Most importantly we have built a great team that allows us to be successful. I have an extensive background in fundraising, campaign strategy, public messaging and standing up for our platform and values.

The overarching goals are as follows:

1.) Elect our Republican candidates

2.) Fundraise

3.) Restore trust

4.) Build a team

5.) Restore relationships with our elected officials

6.) Be an attack dog on the Democratic candidates

7.) Defend our platform and beliefs

8.) Build and expand the grassroots actions within our party by empowering the District Executive Committees

9.) Assess and build the staff and team necessary to be successful implementing our plan and electing our candidates

10.) Improve and facilitate communication between the Chair/Co-Chair and the SCC as well as to improve communication between the state party and the grassroots.

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