Republican Party Chooses Sides
by Jen Green
How time flies, huh? Here we are almost a year removed from the Iowa Straw Poll–the first big primary contest of the 2012 Iowa caucus season. Political drama was running high here in my home state back then with folks teaming up behind their favorite primary contender.
We all know how the story ended in January. What many might not know is the Lifetime Movie-of-the-week type script that was running behind the scenes . . . and the after effects of that story that are still affecting Iowa politics today.
It was inevitable that the growing “conservatarian” ranks who support Ron Paul were going to upset the Establishment’s apple cart. After years of setting up networks of grassroots support, positioning supporters in both local and state politics, the Ron Paul revolution has come to Iowa. It became very apparent during the Iowa caucus season just how nervous the establishment was by this faction of the Republican party.
When members of Iowa’s central committee openly supported Ron Paul for the caucuses, the establishment cried foul. In fact, they said it was “unethical” for leaders of the Republican party to chose sides during a primary–and called for central committee members to remain neutral, to let the process play out, and to promise to support the eventual nominee in the general election.
Now, it seems, the shoe is on the other foot.
It’s primary season here in Iowa, as in many states across the country. And just as we’ve seen in some high profile cases across the country, grassroots conservatives in my state are giving the establishment a run for their money in many key races across Iowa. Fueled by the fact that Republicans have completely squandered a 60 seat majority in the House (and the Governor’s mansion), organizations and small groups have sought out, trained, and supported solid conservative candidates to challenge the system.
And now, some of the same Republican leaders who cried for neutrality during the primary process last year are violating their own “unwritten rule.”
Mailers have been cropping up across Iowa in support of incumbent House Republicans facing strong primary challenges. You can see examples of these fliers below. The ads clearly say they are paid for by “the Republican Party of Iowa” and are mailed using RPI’s non-profit status.
How unethical of them to choose sides in a primary. What a blow to party loyalty for them to divide Republicans in such a way. Why don’t they let the process play out and just commit to supporting the eventual winner against the Democrat in the fall? (Sound familiar?)
After doing some research, I found out the mailers are created by and paid for by the House Majority Fund, which does fall under RPI for reporting purposes. However, the House Majority Fund does have its own director who would be the one allowing and authorizing these expenditures.
From what I’m told, House Majority Fund mailings for incumbents have been done before this primary, but it is a fairly new practice–one which began under previous leadership. Whether the practice will continue remains to be seen.
The mailings do bring up several questions: What standard is applied to choose which races to pit Republicans vs. Republicans? Are these incumbents seen to be in particular trouble?In trouble from whom? Does it matter? Does the establishment have something to gain by keeping these particular incumbents? Why utilize party money that can be used against fighting democrats in the fall to fight off other Republicans–especially if our goal is simply to beat the democrats?
So far, we’ve seen the mailers pictured below–in the Wolfswinkle vs. Smith primary in district 1 and in the Ung vs. Jorgenson primary from district 6. I hear that we will be seeing more mailers for more House primary races as the week progresses. The primary is Tuesday, June 5.
From what I know about Kevin Wolfswinkle and Matthew Ung, I have no doubt the establishment is threatened by them. . . and that’s a very good thing. They have my full support and endorsement.
I’m not much for neutrality. Or hypocrisy.
Ask yourself, after two years of a Republican governor and a 60 seat majority in the Iowa House, are you any better off? What have we gained? Have we made up any ground at all in the fight for life, marriage, jobs, or smaller government?
Answer those questions, then head to the polls in the June 5th primary.