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.