Iowa GOP chair once mocked "crazy" gun bill now on governor's desk

Governor Kim Reynolds will soon decide whether to sign a bill eliminating mandatory permits to carry concealed weapons in Iowa, and allowing firearms on school grounds. The legislation has been a priority for some pro-gun groups for more than a decade. But for years, bills to scrap concealed carry permits had few co-sponsors and never advanced beyond a committee in the Iowa House or Senate.

Jeff Kaufmann, who has chaired the Republican Party of Iowa since 2014, expressed concerns about the idea as the third-ranking Iowa House Republican in March 2011.

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Iowa Republicans unveil assault on early voting

UPDATE: The Iowa Senate and House approved a revised version of this bill on February 23 and 24. Original post follows.

Republican-controlled states “are increasingly not ‘laboratories of democracy,’ but ‘laboratories of democratic backsliding,’” political scientist Jake Grumbach noted in a new article by Perry Bacon Jr. for FiveThirtyEight.com.

Look no further than the Iowa legislature, where House and Senate Republicans unveiled a wide-ranging election bill on February 16. The 37-page legislation would make it much harder for Iowans to obtain and cast absentee ballots, either using the mail or voting early in person.

While House Republicans worked with Democrats to remove many voter suppression provisions from election bills the Iowa Senate had approved in 2019 and 2020, House State Government Committee chair Bobby Kaufmann is now on board with every piece of this year’s attempt to make it harder for Iowans to vote.

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Top Iowa Republicans still pushing Big Lie about 2020 election

Republican Party of Iowa leaders continue to promote the Big Lie that fueled last month’s attempted coup in Washington, DC.

State party chair Jeff Kaufmann adopts the more subtle approach favored by Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa’s U.S. senators, claiming that “fraud” and “irregularities” need fixing in some states where voters preferred Joe Biden. Republican National Committeewoman Tamara Scott, who serves on the Iowa GOP’s State Central Committee, expressly claims the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.

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Kim Reynolds backs effort to overturn 2020 presidential election

Governor Kim Reynolds would have joined the Texas attorney general’s lawsuit seeking to throw out the presidential election results in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia, she announced on December 10. The same day, Reynolds rejected Attorney General Tom Miller’s request to sign on in support of the defendants in that case.

Reynolds said in a campaign statement, “As I have said all along, President Trump, his campaign, and supporters have every right to pursue lawful, legal action in the courts. The American people deserve a fair and transparent election.”

Meanwhile, Reynolds and other prominent Iowa Republicans continue to denounce Rita Hart for appealing the second Congressional district result to the U.S. House–a step federal law allows.

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There must have been a better way

Everyone knew Iowa’s State Canvassing Board wouldn’t have the final word on the 2020 election in the second Congressional district when it certified a six-vote win for Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks on November 30. Most politics watchers expected Democratic candidate Rita Hart to file for an election contest.

Instead, the Hart campaign announced on December 2 that it will bypass Iowa’s process and appeal directly to the Democratic-controlled U.S. House.

This won’t end well.

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Top Iowa Republicans dare not distance themselves from Trump

President Donald Trump’s unhinged and at times frightening behavior during his first televised debate “worried” and “alarmed” some of his most influential allies. The next day, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Washington Republicans criticized the president’s failure to condemn white supremacists. Former Republican National Committee chair Marc Racicot even revealed that he had decided to vote for Democrat Joe Biden, after concluding Trump is “dangerous to the existence of the republic as we know it.”

True to form, Iowa Republicans offered no hint of dissent from the president this week. They either said nothing about Trump’s debate performance or put a positive spin on it.

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