Shawn Harmsen represents the second Congressional district on the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee and chaired the February 3 caucus in Iowa City precinct 6, where a little more than 500 people participated. He first posted these thoughts on Facebook on February 12. The views expressed are his own and do not represent the SCC or any of its other members. -promoted by Laura Belin
Some will be cheering today’s news. I am not one of those people. My opinion may not be popular or fashionable right now, but it is an opinion formed through years of firsthand observations and secondhand reports.
Most of the world sees what went wrong after the caucuses were over. I do not want to minimize that. That matters, and I take it very seriously. More than you probably know. It was a heartbreaking and horrible week. On so many levels. Crushing.
But I also want to point out that for the vast majority of the Iowans who caucused, it was a very good experience. Myself included. When I left my caucus site, before I had a chance to hear the news, I was more optimistic than I have been since well before November of 2016. Caucusing with my neighbors did that.
In fact, one of my neighbors stopped me in the store today and told me how well he thought it went and how he left the room feeling really good and energized.
My stepmom told me two days ago that this year was her first caucus, she loved it, and hopes to do it again and wants to get more involved with her county party where she lives.
The fact is, the caucus part actually did what they were supposed to do for Iowans who caucused. It’s really rare to talk to anyone who didn’t think it was much better than 2016.
People outside the rooms like the one where my neighbors and I caucused didn’t see that. Nor do they care.
But I was there and I saw it.
And I have been there and seen the enormous effort behind the last couple years, and the man who spearheaded that effort. I saw Troy Price lead this party from a crushing 2016 with passion and faith to flipping Iowa House districts and clawing back U.S. House seats. I saw the enormous work statewide with organizing and support. I saw him at major events and small town spaghetti suppers, and showing up with his A game at all of the above.
We may well look back on Troy Price’s resignation as state party chair and feel it was necessary. We may well look back and see it wasn’t. The State Central Committee is working on how we get our answers and answers we can trust. Stay tuned.
Regardless, we should recognize now and in the future the passion, dedication, and excellence Troy put into his job as state party chair for the past several years.
Whatever else we feel about the last ten days, we would be lesser people if we ignore that work and sacrifice made on our behalf and to our benefit.
Whatever else you might think about today’s news, I guarantee you this is good news for Iowa’s Republicans. That also should tell you something.
But, done is done, and we have to move on. Every day I see more bad news from Des Moines, I am reminded that those same Iowa Republicans are going to hurt me and my family a hell of a lot more, and in ways a hell of a lot more real, than the harm it caused my family that there was a delay in the rest of the nation getting results.
So we still have a lot of work to do, and a lot of fighting to do.
And as we move past last week, we are still far better situated to win those fights because of the last years of Troy’s leadership. Whatever else comes of our upcoming inquiry into last week, I want to say thank you to Troy for that.
Troy Price, please know you still have my respect and gratitude.
Top image: Panoramic view of the Iowa City precinct 6 caucus at Mercer Park Gym and Aquatic Center on February 3, 2020. Photo provided by Shawn Harmsen and published with permission.