Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kraig Paulsen replaces Rants as Republican Leader in the House

Yesterday the 44 Republicans who were elected to serve in the Iowa House elected Kraig Paulsen as their leader over former leader Christopher Rants. The weeks and months ahead will prove if this move was simply a symbolic move or if real changes will be made in how House Republican operate their campaigns. Nevertheless, this is a move that had to be made. Christopher Rants over saw the effort that took a 56-44 seat Republican majority in the house in 2000 to a 44-56 Republican minority in 2008.

While Rants was rejected by his collogues n what I’m told was a very close vote yesterday, the void created by his absence will be a tough one to fill by Paulsen and his leadership team. While Rants has his flaws, he was a good fundraiser and communicator for the House Republicans. It is in those two areas that Paulsen needs to concentrate his efforts.

It is my belief that the election of Paulsen is more of a symbolic move than anything else. Paulsen was Rants’ first lieutenant and was involved in the day-to-day operations of the House Republican campaign effort, so I don’t expect to see much change in staff or consultants. I could be very wrong on this, but if Paulsen saw things that he thought could be done better or should be changed I would have thought it would have been exposed to the Republican caucus since it could have been used to make the case against Rants.

Looking ahead I think we will see more change for Iowa Republicans. I’m told that Senator McKinley is challenging Ron Weick for the Republican leadership post in the Senate. Everything I’m hearing indicated that McKinley will be the one who emerges. It’s important to note that a good chunk of the votes Weick received when he was voted last year are no longer members of the Senate.

We also know that that the Republican Party of Iowa will have a new chairperson as well. It seems to me that Republicans learned a lesson after the 2006 elections when none of these positions saw leadership change. While elevating new people to leadership roles is always newsworthy, what we really need to see if these people are actually going to provide changes in strategy when it comes to our Republican campaigns.


  1. Conrats to Paulsen, God speed....

    Thank you Rants, God speed....

  2. "Congrats" is what I meant. Just want to get that corrected before the Spellchecktramps begin posting...

    And now, more coffee....

  3. Krusty:

    Will Paulsen make any changes in the staff on the House side, the ones who were loyal Rantites for the last decade? Won't he just inherit the same mindset, advice and counsel if he doesn't make some changes?

  4. Many Republicans have mixed feelings on Rants, which makes him not much different from most if all in politics. While some viewed him as a lifetime politician driven by ego, there's little doubt he has formidable political skills. He's a good communicator and strong fund-raiser. I suspect he's not that disappointed in the caucus election, as it will free him up for his political ambitions in 2010. As for Paulsen, we can only hope for the best and give him our support, but I don't see how electing a new leader with less talent and ability is an improvement. As Krusty said, it's a symbolic move, which to me means it's unlikely to result in improvements to vision, strategy and fund-raising. In my opinion, the electoral failures of the GOP under Rants are not so much because of his efforts, but in spite of them. We should expect a better political climate for Republicans in 2010, and we should begin now to prepare for it by recruiting, training and electing the best possible candidates.

  5. Kraig Paulsen for House Minority Leader...Paid for by Iowans for Tax Relief.

  6. I don't know how "symbolic" this is.

    Even if they have the same ideas, Paulsen knows now that he needs to bring about results.

    Also a strong Republican from eastern Iowa is what the party needs, Rants was a little Western-Iowa minded.

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  8. Sure hope Rants enjoys his desk on the House floor as an office

  9. I love it how Rants and friends are attacking Paulson now that Kriag has replaced their man as leader. I think Paulson will be a great leader for the party. He’s engaging on a personal level, he works hard and he makes people around him comfortable. Rants, by contrast, talked down to people and made you feel like it was some sort of honor to be in his presence.

    He was a bully and he held grudges that caused divisions in the party. I’m glad he’s no longer our leader. Truth be told, he never should have occupied that post to begin with. I want say he was a "great fundraiser" either. He was the House Majority leader under Seigrest so people lined up to give him money. They didn’t to this because they liked him or because they thought he was a brilliant fundraiser, they did it because he had power. We'll see what kind of money he can raise now that he has no power.

    Bottom line: After Monday, Chris Rants is a has been. Its time to move forward.