Stop. Don’t throw anything; I’m not talking about another McCain campaign for president. I’m talking about the internal struggle for control of the Republican Party here in Iowa.
Let’s take a quick look at the political landscape. First we have Doug Gross (former Romney Chair) who has been adamant that the Republican Party should moderate its message to win elections. On the other hand we have the Christian Right (Huckabee) who want to make sure the Republican Party remains committed to the pro-life and pro-family cause. Both agree that we should use pocketbook issues to build a big tent. Just like in the caucuses, all the attention is focused on these two factions of the party, and while they bloody each other up, someone (McCain) lurks in the shadows (New Hampshire). Get it?
We have already discussed a few names like Marlys Popma, Ted Sporer, and Danny Carroll but don’t fool yourselves; there are other candidates out there. For example Bill Dix has been mentioned recently. But if we really want to complete the whole Huck vs. Romney = McCain thing, then maybe that candidate in the shadows is a guy like Matt Strawn. Strawn ran McCain’s Iowa campaign before the June 07 restructuring. Since that time he has been involved as an owner/manager of the Iowa Barnstormers arena football team.
Strawn, an Iowa native, spent a number of years in DC as Rep. Mike Rogers’ (R-Michigan) top advisor and Chiefs of Staff before moving back to Iowa to join the McCain campaign. Strawn is an interesting candidate because if you look at the Barnstormer’s front office it’s full of political people and it might give you a glimpse of what the party would look like under his control. First we all know that Jeff Lamberti is one of the other owners of the Barnstormers, and my blog buddy Grant Young (dude, I’m glad you found your car) is an Account Executive for the team. Becky Beach and Kari Putney the fundraising team for Lamberti’s congressional campaign; are also associated with the Barnstormers and both have been involved in Party fundraising in the past.
In addition to those mentioned above there are three guys already working at the party with connections to Strawn. Matt Gronewald led the House Majority effort and Wes Peterson assisted Darrell Kearney with RPI’s fundraising last year. Both Gronewald and Peterson worked for McCain’s campaign under Strawn. Eric Johansen the party’s 72 hour director cut his teeth on the Lamberti’s campaign which Strawn was an advisor to.
Now this is just a rumor that’s started to float around so I have no clue if this is even going to happen or if Strawn is connected to someone else running like Lamberti himself, I just don’t see Strawn as the ED. When assessing the viability of some of the Chairman candidates it’s the ones that have a connection to the money that will be in play. While I know everyone likes to question the SCC but they all know they need to fund their operation, so Strawn’s connections to Lamberti and Beach help him tremendously.
Again, please stay constructive when commenting about these people. I will continue to write about other candidates as they emerge or I get wind of them running or considering it. We need to explore all possibilities so we can put the best team possible in place.
More on the Senate Republican Leadership vote later today. I hear it will be McKinley.