Weekend open thread: Midsummer edition

What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome. The big political news was the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee passing a no-confidence motion in top leaders and electing former Iowa House Speaker Jeff Kaufmann as new party chair, with Cody Hoefert as co-chair. Radio Iowa has the audio of Kaufmann’s speech to the committee, a spirited and a bit defensive case for changing leaders at this time. Too bad the party now has a team at the top whom major donors will support. The Iowa Republican live-blogged the State Central Committee meeting. Shane Vander Hart has video of remarks by several committee members. UPDATE: Added more commentary on the Republican Party leadership change below. Apparently Chad Olsen is returning as Iowa GOP executive director, which is good news for Republicans, since he knows a lot more about GOTV than the outgoing staff.

With the July 4 long weekend coming up, many people will be planning celebrations outdoors. Unfortunately, heavy rain has caused flooding affecting many Iowa parks, roads and trails in low-lying areas. With any luck we’ll get a few dry days before next weekend.

Excess nutrients (primarily runoff from conventional agriculture) can cause algal blooms in waterways. Ponds and lakes affected by the overgrowth of algae are unfortunately not safe even for pets, let alone humans.

Most fireworks remain illegal to buy or sell in Iowa, despite efforts by some statehouse Republicans to pass a bill this year, which would have legalized them for the first time since the 1930s. There wasn’t broad-based support for the bill. Playing with sparklers, which are legal, as well as fireworks purchased from neighboring states, contributes to a surge in eye injuries around July 4.

For those planning to march in parades on behalf of local candidates or political groups, enjoy your outreach and try to keep your message positive.

Syndicated talk radio host Steve Deace, a vocal part of the social conservative wing, commented on June 28, “I’ve decided to give the establishment’s choice for @IowaGOP chairman the same chance they gave the previous two. Because, unity.”

Last week, State Central Committee member David Chung explained his reasons for supporting a leadership change.

This is not about Danny’s faith; this is not about Danny being a conservative. I too am a Christian, born again, a sinner saved by grace. I too am a conservative, I am the one who put a Life section in our platform (pro-life planks used to be in Health and Human Services). In other circumstances, Danny and I could and should have been friends (we are even both bicyclists).  I do believe that Danny is an honorable Christian man, but I also believe that he is not the right man to lead RPI at this time and here are my reasons why. […]

Danny has said (and I believe him to be a man of his word) that he will support the governor. Unfortunately, as long as Danny is chairman, I am certain that a Jack Hatch ad will feature the Chairman of the Iowa GOP on the steps of the capitol saying he will not support Branstad even if he were to become the nominee.

Finally, this Central Committee (like every other) was elected by the grassroots and has a mandate. A mandate to run the party effectively, promote Republican values and elect Republican candidates. (Which candidates? The ones chosen by the grassroots in the primaries.) I do not believe that Danny Carroll is the right man to chair the Republican Party of Iowa and help us fulfill our mandate at this time.

The Iowa Republican’s Kevin Hall is all for the leadership changes:

The new SCC was given a mandate from the grassroots during the district conventions. And that mandate was for wholesale change. […]

New Co-Chair Cody Hoefert set a goal of raising $300,000 over the next three months. For all those complaining that Danny Carroll didn’t have enough time, let’s see how the new regime does financially in the next three months and compare that to Chairman Carroll’s tenure …

Under the Carroll/Krishna leadership, RPI raised only $29,700 in May. More than $11,200 of that came from the RNC transferring money for the Victory effort. So they actually raised only $18,500,but spent more than $90,000 …

Raise your hand if you think a state party raising only $18,500 in one month, in an election year, is good … Raise your hand if you think spending $72,000 more than you raised shows good stewardship of the party’s finances […]

Here are the facts about why Saturday’s moves were necessary: The Iowa Democratic Party is miles ahead of RPI right now in every conceivable measure. They’re out in droves doorknocking on weekends. They’re raising plenty of money …

They have a communications team that is constantly bashing Republican candidates. They are far more prepared for this November than we are and there were no signs that was going to change with Danny Carroll in charge of the party …

At the same blog, Craig Robinson expressed mixed feelings.

3. Electing a new chairman now is about restoring some sense of trust with donors who have declined to contribute to the party in recent years.  Unlike the previous committee which was focused more on ideology, this committee is also focused on winning elections in November and making the party relevant in the upcoming general election, and to do that, they need to be able to raise significant money.

4. It was no secret that the new committee would want to elect its own chairman, yet Carroll volunteered for the job.  Since then, he has dug in his heels and told the new committee that he’s not going to quietly step aside. That’s not necessarily a mindset that was going to win over some of the members of the committee.

5. Multiple sources told me that Carroll would resign the chairmanship of the party so long as the party would employ him as a religious outreach coordinator.  […] Instead of a last-minute deal, this should have been something that he talked to the new members of the committee about before they took control following the state convention. […]

I still think it’s a bad idea.

While I understand the reasoning behind the new committee’s desire to elect its own chair, I fear that the costs could outweigh the benefits.  Carroll supporters are fighting mad.  Some are comparing what is happening with Carroll to the run off election in Mississippi.  Now, I think that’s a stretch, but face it, it’s easy to see how social conservative could be feeling like they are getting the short end of the stick.

This is a time when the party should be uniting around its candidates going into the general election campaign.  Yet, once again it’s the tug-of-war over control of the Republican Party of Iowa that is front page news, pitting Republicans against Republicans.  How unfortunate.

Somewhere David Fischer and A.J. Spiker are laughing.

Fischer and Spiker are the masterminds of the latest spat between Republicans, and they are enjoying every second of it.  Carroll would never be chairman today if Fischer and Spiker didn’t methodically resign their positions to create an opening for him to first get elected as co-chair and a month later become the chairman.

Not only do they enjoy watching the party bicker over Carroll, but it also helps them politically. […]

This is a prefect scenario for Fischer and Spiker to get social conservatives to sign on to Rand Paul’s campaign.

The Des Moines Register’s Kathie Obradovich sees five urgent tasks for Kaufmann and Hoefert:

UNIFY: With all due respect to Kaufmann’s characterization that labels don’t matter, he ought to personally seek out and involve members of the factions most closely represented by the ousted leaders. […]

BE TRANSPARENT: Raising money is vital, as Kaufmann correctly points out. He also should work to improve transparency of party finances. Donations to the party aren’t the same thing as money passing through it from one campaign or organization to another. Kaufmann should be clear about how well the party is doing in supporting its ongoing operations, not just passing dollars.

ORGANIZE: Kaufmann is absolutely correct in pointing out the Iowa GOP is behind the Democrats in building an effective ground organization. That’s especially true when it comes to early voting. The Republicans need to build their technological prowess, too.

COMMUNICATE: The party’s new co-chairman, Rock Rapids chiropractor Cody Hoefert, pointed out the need for the party to improve communications with members, especially county leaders. […]

PLAN: It will be tempting to just get by until the next election, but the 2016 caucuses will be hard on the heels of the midterms. Republican leaders need to refine their process, improve technology and make sure a framework is in place.

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