Thursday, June 5, 2008

Primary Night Winners and Losers

IA CD 2 Winners & Losers:

IA CD 2 Winners:

Voters of the 2nd District. They now have a stark contrast for November. One kandidate who kampaigned in 2006 as the “agent of change”, and who has become, over the last two years, an agent of Nancy Pelosi and the left wing Democrat Party. Voters also got in Miller-Meeks a candidate who can take the fight directly to Loebsack on ethics, health care, and energy. Given her long history with the University of Iowa, she will also attack Loebsack’s base from the Iowa City area, the area that gave him the edge over Leach in 2006.

The Republican Party of Iowa. For a party in desperate need of some new blood and a solid dose of re-branding, Miller-Meeks is just what the doctor ordered. Not recruited by the Party bosses, and in many cases, fighting their bias towards Teahen, Miller-Meeks drove the grassroots in 15 counties. Her volunteer operation was as good as anything we’ve seen since Steve King pulled off his upset victory. Like King, she did not come from the “major” area of the district, but was similarly unrelenting in her organizational efforts. Her team door knocked, lit dropped, called activists in volunteer phone banks, hosted numerous “house calls” where she met voters one-on-one, and did the hard work necessary to win a close race. Good news for the Party.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks. From the start of this campaign, Miller-Meeks maintained a dogged work ethic, a desire to talk substantively about the issues, to offer solutions, and to meet as many voters as she could. She traveled to each of the district’s counties at least 5 times, and used her website and the new media to drive her message. She never took anything for granted, knew she was an underdog, and always trusted her instincts and belief that she was going to win.

State Representative Jeff Kaufmann. Kaufmann showed his guts and maverick style by endorsing Miller-Meeks, and then putting his hard work where his endorsement was. He went to events with her, did endorsement kalls, offered the campaign team advice and kounsel, and worked with his leadership team to drive the grassroots. Kaufmann was true to himself and to his key issues, choosing to support a kandidate in whom he believed, not merely one he thought would win.

New Media: Repeated attempts to get the mainstream media interested in this race, i.e., the Cedar Rapids Gazette and Des Moines Register, appear to have gone for naught. Kudos to the new media of bloggers and online journalists who covered the race almost daily and picked up the slack from their MSM counterparts. Uncommon Iowan, Battleground Iowa, QCI, Coralville Courier, our liberal friend John Deeth, Iowa Independent and your truly led the coverage of this race. The MSM (with the exception of the Iowa City Press-Citizen and Ottumwa Courier) sat on their butts and were more worried about Fallon/Boswell (snoozer) and local supervisor races (total snoozers).

Eagle Media: I don’t know why it is, but too many kampaigns feel that, to get a great media vendor, you have to look outside the state of Iowa. I think this sentiment may exist because Victory Enterprises offers such low quality products in this department. Eagle Media’s ads were the best I’ve seen from an Iowa kandidate as far back as I can remember. When seeing the two ads they produced, you could tell they spent the time to know their client and present her in the best possible manner. The same can not be said about Teahen’s ads from VE.

Craig Robinson: The former Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa didn’t spend anytime licking his wounds after being let go in February by newly elected State Chairman Stew Iverson. Robinson instead started his own political fundraising business and went to work for Miller-Meeks who was his first klient. Not only was she able to out raise her opponents, she won her primary. I’m also told that Robinson handled Jim Leach’s fundraising when he was with Capitol Resources, Iowa’s other fundraising firm.

The Miller-Meeks Grassroots Team: This group of people never bought in to the logic that the campaign would be decided in Linn County. When you look at the county totals in that race, you get an idea of the work they put into that kampaign. Of the 11 counties the Miller-Meeks kampaign won, they beat Teahen by 50 votes in one county, 100 votes in four counties, 200 votes in 2 counties, 300 votes in three kounties, and 700 votes in her home county of Wapello. I guess that’s how you negate Linn kounty. Hats off to Todd Versteegh, and the county chairs that made it happen. I don’t know the names of the county chairs, but obviously Wapello and Muscatine counties were key. And whoever cranked out the vote in Appanoose and Van Buren kounties should get a lot of satisfaction in the final result.

I also think that the Miller-Meeks' people in Linn kounty deserve a shout out. I know Todd Henderson and Joni Scotter we involved in the campaign. Both walked the difficult road of working against the hometown candidate. That is not an easy thing to do. While I’m sure they wanted a smaller margin for Teahen in Linn kounty, they got enough votes up there to make a win possible.

IA CD 2 Losers

Peter Teahen. His kredibility is shredded, shown to be full of factual holes and gross exaggerations. Several key items from his once much touted resume have been proven to be false, like his MA from Liberty University, his work in Oklahoma City, not to mention Darfur. He said he had the NRA endorsement. He did not. He said he had the IRTL endorsement. He did not. He has a pending FEC investigation for campaign finance problems, and probably sunk $75,000 of his own money into one of the most clumsy campaigns seen in Iowa’s history. His campaign boiled down to one week, county, one issue…the three “L’s.” (Last, Linn, Life) He should go back to his volunteer work and focus on his business and forget about ever being Secretary of State, or a Kongressman.

Bob Vander Plaats / Kim Lehman / ICA / Pro-Life / Single Issue Voters. Yeah, that’s a pretty big swipe at a lot of reliable conservatives, but man, guys, get a clue. On one hand, you had a mother of two, married for 25 years, strong pro-life Catholic, who donates and volunteers to crisis centers, whose daughter leads the abstinence program in her high school. On the other hand, you have a twice-divorced man who has supported some of the most liberal, pro-abortion Democrats imaginable.

Why did the above list support Teahen? Because he filled out a survey. He pandered and said all the right things. Her sin? She didn’t fill out the survey. Nor would she proselytize and talk about the life issue at EVERY single stop. So now what? Why does “the movement” run around and shoot those who walk the walk in favor of those who merely talk the talk? To have supported Teahen, either openly or behind the scenes, has moved the credibility of the pro-life, pro-family movement just one notch ahead of Peter Teahen’s credibility.

Cookie Kutter Kandidates / Generic Kampaigns in a Box: What else can I say. Single issue, wedge politics, daily robo-calls. Get over it. Those tactics are history. Every candidate is unique, and their campaigns must be unique, too. And that includes their advertising. The old “insert name here” advertising with stock footage just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Victory Enterprises: I know they seem to be everyone’s whipping boy in the Iowa Republican blogosphere, but they handled almost every aspect of Teahen’s campaign and were beaten in ever facet. Whether it was media ads, general consulting, or fundraising the products they provided, the Teahen campaign didn’t match up to what Miller-Meeks was putting out there.


David Tredrea. Out of nowhere, an Englishman opens up a can of whoop ass on his former fellow aid worker. Rather than answer any of the allegations made against him, Teahen starts maligning Tredrea’s character, saying he’s unstable and has issued threats against Teahen. Teahen indicates Tredrea has lost his wife, his job, and his home. Teahen indicates he’s gotten the police, the FBI, and SCOTLAND YARD involved protecting him, and that he has a restraining order against Tredrea. He talks to Party leaders and tells them that anyone who repeats the claims of Tredrea is putting his and his family’s LIFE IN DANGER.

However, he offers not a single wit of proof to back any of this up.

And in the end, Tredrea’s revelations about Teahen stuck. People sensed something was keenly wrong with Teahen, that his resume is embellished and his statements grossly exaggerated. While Tredrea is seriously dinged up in his efforts, he shines some light on Teahen, and none of it was flattering. Advantage Tredrea.

IA US Senate Winners & Losers:

US Senate Winners

Christopher Reed: From just another unknown candidate to the presumptive nominee in what, three weeks? If anything tells you that Republicans want new faces and ideas it was the success of his campaign. With no money, and no name ID, this guy found a way to connect with grassroots conservatives. Apparently those people didn’t just say, yeah I’ll support you, they told their friends. Impressive win by Reed. If he can energize Iowa’s conservative base who knows, he could really surprise people.

Grassroots Conservatives: Take that, establishment! George Eichhorn found everybody who was anybody and got them to endorse his campaign. As I always say, very rarely do endorsements make a difference. If you want to understand the Huckabee sensation from the caucuses, or Reed's big win, you have to understand that there are key conservative activists in every county. Those are the endorsements you need. Those people found Mike Huckabee in the caucuses. Christopher Reed went out and found them in this primary.

Stephanie Launder: The wife of former RPI Executive Director Chuck Laudner saw something in Reed long before anyone else did. She helped guide and focus him in the months leading up to the primary. She might have been the biggest winner of all on primary night.

Chuck Laudner: I think it’s important to recognize Stephanie and Chuck separately. While Chuck didn’t have an official role on the campaign, we all know he was involved. If you look up konservative street kred in the dictionary, you will find an entire chapter about Chuck. I know that there are some who are thinking that this race might still be decided at state konvention, but Chuck would probably welcome such a challenge.

Steve Deace brought up the fact that both Robinson and Laudner were part of winning campaigns yesterday on his show. I never understood why you would boot Laudner out, when he was probably the best person to help McCain bridge the gap between himself and the konservatives.

US Senate Winners Losers

Steve Rathje: I kampaigned for three years, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt? I wrote that his decision to skip the debate was one of the biggest blunders in political history here in Iowa. There is no doubt that the exposure helped both Reed and Eichhorn. Who knows, if Rathje would have put in a good performance he may have been the nominee. His arrogance was his biggest enemy.

George Eichhorn: I’m not going to rag on Eichhorn. I’m glad he ran because I didn’t want to see Rathje win. Eichhorn did a lot good things with no budget. The problem was people wanted new faces, and Reed’s fresh face and conservative speak gave him a tiny edge.

Leon Mosley: I thought Vander Plaats was stupid for getting involved with Teahen in the 2nd District, but Mosley is equally damaged. Why the Co-Chair of the state party would endorse a candidate is beyond me. Leon is beloved by many activists out there, but moves like this are simply not smart.

One final winner on the night: Iowans for tax Relief

They went 7 for 7 and the phrase, “don’t shoot at something you don’t intend to kill” accurately describes their campaign philosophy. ITR is reshaping the Republican caucus in the House and Senate. They are the organization who is taking on the responsibility of rebuilding a Republican majority. I believe that ITR probably helped a future Speaker of the House and Senate President on Tuesday night. Change and new leadership will not come from within.

So who would be the biggest loser? Steve Grubbs

Here is his quote from today’s Des Moines Register.

“Former state GOP Chairman Steve Grubbs attributed the lower turnout to the party's flagging enthusiasm in Iowa. He also said the three candidates for U.S. Senate are unfamiliar faces who had little money to get the vote out.

"I know that some people are probably going to read Republican apathy into that, and that was a factor," said Grubbs, a party strategist from Davenport. "But there was no Republican organization to make people aware that there was an election."

Kan we say bitter? Grubbs is the architect of the very type of single issue kampaigns that people are sick of here in Iowa. It sure sounds like he is pissed that the two senate campaigns couldn’t help his client win on Grubb’s piss poor campaign plan that boiled everything down to 1 week, 1 issue, and 1 county. Grubb’s should be kriticizing Teahen’s campaign, not the US Senate kandidates. Oh that’s right, then would be he would have to point that finger at himself.

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