There is just no other way to put it – Ron Paul’s support’s dominated the caucus to convention process in Iowa. Their most impressive feat came on Friday night when they won 11 of the 12 national delegate spots that were up for grabs. Combine that with an at-large slate that was approved on Saturday that gave them 10 more national convention delegates, and you begin to see how dominate they were. At the end of the day, Ron Paul came away with 23 of the state’s 28 delegates. The two additional delegates are Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker and National Committeeman Steve Scheffler, who was included on the Paul slate.
While the non-Paul delegates will grumble about what happened, one also must respect the work and dedication that it took to pull it all off. From robo calling their supporters, to following up with a live call, to giving their delegates instructions via text message while the convention was going on, the Paul campaign put on a clinic in how to organize in Iowa. While it’s easy to organize when you basically have no opposition, that shouldn’t take away from what they were able to achieve.
Tamara Scott’s election to National Committeewoman is the lone bright spot for the non-Paul convention delegates. After Kim Pearson concluded her rousing speech, everybody in the room thought she had won. Yet, because of Scott’s longtime involvement as a social conservative activist and the fact that Pearson turns the stomachs of many mainline Republican, Scott won on the second ballot.
The importance of Scott’s election should not be overlooked. Had a lightning rod like Pearson been elected, it may have been impossible to keep Iowa’s First-in-the-Nation status, especially if she went on to openly bash the Republican nominee at every opportunity. Scott gives Iowa Republicans someone who is extremely well spoken and can argue why Iowa should be trusted to remain first.
Senate Minority Leader Jerry Behn did an outstanding job of introducing himself to convention delegates. Behn isn’t necessarily unknown to Republican activists since he’s been a member of the state senate since 1997 and attempted to run for Governor in 2010, but he needed to establish himself as a leader within the Republican Party, and he did so on Saturday.
There was a time when people in Behn’s position preferred to call themselves the Republican leader of the senate instead of Minority Leader. The reason is obvious, but when Behn said that the only role of the Minority Leader is to become the Majority Leader he got a quiet “Amen” from me. Behn seems confident yet relaxed in his new role, which is probably the result of having been a member of the senate for years. It’s nice to see our new legislative leaders impress when on the big convention stage.
Governor Terry Branstad
Branstad was on fire when he addressed the convention delegates on Saturday morning. Not only did Branstad provide the delegates some red meat, but it was also apparent that he was in full campaign mode. That’s good news for Republicans whose top priority is to take control of the state senate. Branstad looked like a Governor who was ready to lead his troops into battle. Let’s hope they follow him.
Congressman Steve King
If there is one political figure that can unite all the factions within the Republican Party, it’s Congressman Steve King. As Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds was introducing King, the convention delegates stood and cheered. King is the undisputed champion of the Republican activists in Iowa. King didn’t disappoint either. He bashed the President for his new immigration policy that would grant some 800,000 young illegal immigrants amnesty.
Dirks, the Junior Delegate Chairman, provided what had to be the highlight of the convention when he addressed the convention delegates. Dirks was an impressive speaker and was calm, cool, and collected when addressing the convention from the stage. There were a number of impressive young people at this year’s state convention. It’s just too bad the adults in the room didn’t set much of an example for them to follow. Instead, it is the regular convention delegates who should look to model themselves after this impressive young man.