Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Next Important Vote: RNC Chair

My good friend Chris Cillizza had an interesting post on the race for the next chair of the RNC yesterday. I found the names that he mentioned to be fascinating, not because it included the name of a former Congressman from Iowa, but because the RNC chair could have a major impact on the Iowa Caucuses so we better not mess this up.

It should come as no surprise that the majority of the names he mentioned come from states who want to see their state either preserve their status as an early presidential primary or caucus or want to elevate their states status. Simply put there is a lot of risk to Iowa’s 1st in the Nation status if we have a RNC chair who is hostile to us.

In honor of Cillizza, here is the list.

Jim Nussle, Iowa
. I was surprised to see Nussle on the list and think and find it to be intriguing. As we all know Nussle was a heck of a Congressman but a poor gubernatorial candidate. Having seen him speak after his gubernatorial campaign, it is clear that Nussle’s comfort zone in national politics not state government. Nussle has always done well in the fundraising department and can speak intelligently on a host of issues. Being from Iowa he should support our First in the Nation status, but his candidate of choice in 2008, Rudy Giuliani didn’t fully embrace Iowa, and skipped the Iowa Straw Poll. (I believe that Rudy would have done much better in his quest for the Republican nomination had he fully competed in Iowa.

Katon Dawson, South Carolina
. Mr. Dawson is the chair of the Republican Party in South Carolina and has helped to cement his state’s First in the South status. It is my belief that Dawson would help preserve our current nomination calendar, not alter it. I can’t speak to Dawson’s ability to communicate and fundraise but I have talked to national types who speak highly of him.

Jim Greer, Florida. Here’s where we start getting in trouble folks. Florida and Michigan created a lot of havoc in the nomination calendar in 2008. There is no doubt that they both want a prominent spot. Now from my vantage point they received a ton of attention in the primary, if Greer’s being mentioned he obviously wants more.

Saul Anuis, Michigan
. See above. For those of you who don’t know Saul he’s a little like Ted Sporer. Now we know how that cuts both ways. Anuis is a great communicator and full of energy, and there is no secret that he would want a more prominent role for Michigan to play in the nomination calendar. Also don’t fool yourself and think potential presidential candidates are not playing in this game. I don’t who Anuis supported in the primary, but a more prominent role for Michigan is good for one candidate, Mitt Romney.

Mike Duncan, current chair
. Moving right along.

Michael Steele, Maryland
. Steele is a rising star in the GOP. He is the former Lt. Governor of Maryland, and their US Senate candidate in 2006. Last cycle he served as Chairman of GOPAC, and supported Rudy Giuliani. I like Steele a lot but I think I remember him saying some not so supportive things about Iowa’s First in the Nation Status.

Chip Saltsman, Tennessee
. Chip is the former Chair of the Tenn GOP, was Bill Frist’s main political guy, and then engineered Huckabee’s Huck-a-boom. Saltsman is extremely likable and young, something the GOP needs. Selecting him however might be too blatant for fans of other potential presidential candidates. However, Saltsman has seen the value of Iowa first hand.

It’s too early to guess who it’s going to be, but never too early to start talking about it.


  1. Do you see any potential women in that role or an Hispanic-American?

  2. Look I don't like looking for someone who fits a specific gender or ethnic back ground. I want the best person for the job, I want to someone who can help us win.

  3. As I do, but it seems to me that we could maybe keep an eye out for something different than the same old same old. Chip would be refreshing simply because he isn't almost dead.

  4. How about new RNC representatives from Iowa who threaten and attack not Republican candidates.

  5. And you wonder why 3M lost? Lets not run a campaign lets lash out at everyone we cant beat and make ourselves the victim. Its quick wit and brilliant strategy like that that gets you up to a whopping 38.8% of the general election vote. Have fun in obscurity Marionette.

  6. Agreed, and 3M had the same old hacks that always lose running her campaign! Get rid of them, get rid of the losers, and get some new, fresh, winners out there that know how to win, and are strong enough to stand on their principles (or gee, actually have principles!)

  7. 35.7% - David Hartsuch

    37.4% - Christopher Reed

    Yes, those principles really made a difference when challenging an incumbent.

  8. Are you saying that 3M had no principals annon 12:22? If so, I would agree with that. Her message changed everywhere she went. At least if youre going to get blown out, you may as well walk away with the dignity of actually having stood for something.

  9. How does a post about RNC chair turn into a bashing of one of our former candidates?

    The dumbass cave dwellers who post this crap are the very reason our Party is in such dire straits.

    And might I ask the anon poster who bashes everyone else...what did you do for the ticket this cycle? Identify any new Republicans? Canvass your neighborhood? Sign up absentee voters? Make turn out calls? Donate time or money?

    No, probably not. You hid in your cubicle or more likely in your Mom's basement and checked blog postings in between reading passages of Leviticus.

  10. Actually, anon, you sound like quite the bitter staffer/director, and are probably much much smarter than I am. After all, you work in politics!

    I did organize quite the door knocking, phone calling, sign placing and party giving group for McCain/Palin and our House Republicans. Too bad the staffers and campaign directors were not as interested in winning as they were/are in Covering Their Asses.

  11. Oh, and yes, all of the Republican candidates were all over the place! Especially 3M. Except for the two that actually won - King and Latham. They are really the only two conservative winners in our state.

  12. So back to the topic of the day. Giggity-Giggity, let’s have Chip Saltsman. He loves Iowa. Love or hate Huck, we need someone who loves us and will fight for us as chair of the RNC. Good old Jim Nicholson (yawn) was the driving force behind the Delaware Plan in 2000 that stuck it to Iowa in the tailpipe. So the RNC chair really matters. Thumbs up on Nussle and Saltsman.

  13. Jim Nussle as RNC Chair?

    You're kidding, right?

    Would he take his former Iowa staff with him to DC to run the operation?

  14. Chip Saltsman all the way, baby!!!!

  15. Saltsman would be awsome! Nussle wouldnt be bad but it would be a tough sale nationally. Saltsman however has the appeal to actually win this election a do big things for Iowa and the RNC.


  16. Nussle?

    What the fuck?

  17. I disagree i dont think 3M lost because she had the same hacks running her campaign... it was due mostly to the fact her son ran her campaign into the ground by ignoring good advice and having no experience

  18. Trashing people and pointing fingers is not very productive when our party is in a shambles. You may think you are an insider and know what you are talking about, but before you make a post like that please think again and consider the destructive nature of making such a nonsensical post.

    For the record, Jonathon may have been a newcomer but he worked his ass off and the campaign was better off for having him involved. I can't think of too many family members of candidates in any campaign who did so much to help the cause.

    So lay off.

  19. From a former Iowan who now lives in the DC area, Michael Steele is no longer a rising star. He is more of a has-been. Forget Nussle. I have to agree on Saltsman. He would be a great choise and some new blood at the RNC.

  20. I think Michael Steele would be a superb choice for RNC Chair

  21. Chip is a good personal friend and I can say with a great deal of certainty that he is the best choice for RNC Chairman. He'll protect Iowa's first in the nation status and be a tremendous ally to Iowa Republicans as we work to rebuild our party.

  22. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  23. I find it ironic that so many people can talk about a campaign they were never involved in. Jonathon is a rising star in political campaigns if he chooses to stay that arena. He did a damn good job, but the problem does not involve the candidate or the campaign staff. It involves the radical members of the Iowa Republican Party. We need to stop ignoring candidates that can win and start supporting them. We will never win the 2nd District if we have a Steve King like candidate. Steve is nice guy, but he would never win in the 2nd District. In my opinion Miller-Meeks may have been too conservative for the 2nd District.

    Personally, I would like people to start to look to the future and ask themselves what they want in the future. Do we want more losing years in 2010 and 2012 with candidates like tax-and-spend-Culver, do-nothing-Dave, Lazy-Boswell winning? or do we want something better? I say we want something better. Something much better. I want a party that will elect FISCAL conservatives. Don't get me wrong, the social issues are important, but they are not new. The Republican Party better start thinking and investing in new ideas or else we won't see conservative power until we have become like France.

    Let's stop criticizing things we have no facts on and start focusing on the future that includes NEW ideas, and fresh thought. That is the Republican party I came to love and want to be apart of.

  24. As always, thanks for your insights, Krusty. There are several great candidates here. But our comments are irrelevant to the decision-makers. My sources tell me it will be Michael Steele.

  25. 6:23. I agree with you that we shouldn’t be criticizing campaign staffers. But its ignorant to attempt to lay blame for the Miller-Meeks flop on "Radical Leadership in the Republican Part of Iowa." Was Iowa Right to Life wrong to call Miller-Meeks out on her weakness on social issues when she was up against such a poor congressman? Yes. Was that the reason she lost? No. In fact, the IRTL newsletter wasn’t even widely distributed until the Miller-Meeks campaign sent it to Kay Henderson at Radio Iowa. That was stupid. I’m not even sure what they thought that would accomplish but all it did was hurt the party and make her look stupid.

    If it helps you sleep at night, you can tell yourself that the campaign was well run and Miller-Meeks would be a Congresswoman today if it wasn’t for that newsletter. But try to remember, she lost by almost 12%. There is absolutely no way IRTL has that much influence in the 2nd District. Her campaign over-promised and under-delivered. Plain and simple. That is why she doesn’t have a future. She set the bar higher than she could ever reach. Now, no one will ever want to put their faith in her again. That’s on her, not Kim Lehman, not the state party, its on her failure to control expectations. So do yourself a favor; take a hard look at the Miller-Meeks campaign. Learn what you can about what they did right and what they did wrong, then find a new candidate and use what you learned to go back at David Loebsack in 2010.

  26. Well you can pretty much see from the posts on this forum the utter blowhard ignorance about Mariannette's campaign. You guys can't even keep your story straight, her campaign is run by party hacks, then it's too inexperienced and naive. Maybe you should coordinate your talking points better.

    Maybe if you looked at the numbers - ALL of the congressional challengers lost big, Republican or Democrat. It was an incumbent year. So spin your fantasies about Mariannette's inconsistent message or failing to deliver on promises or whatever, what killed MMM's campaign was MONEY, pure and simple. Every congressional challenger had the same problem.

    Part of that was the flood, part was the RNC, and part was the Right to Life loons that spread lies and trashed her. I know it had an effect because I saw the undervote for her race in my county.

    Which brings us to Kim Lehman. Kim needs to go. She has a conflict of interest and can't live up to her duties. It's bad enough she trashed Mariannette in that newsletter, but she used verbatim the language that Teahen used in one of his mailers in the primary.

    Kim's temper tantrum was a Teahen grudge, pure and simple. She's bitter, angry, and power drunk and acting like a washed up hack. Get over it Kim, Teahen lost, and he lost because he was a pathological liar, and would have lost even bigger than Mariannette did, assuming he didn't hauled off to jail for fraud.

  27. Guys, Chip Saltsman isn't going to happen. He doesn't have enough pull at national to make it happen. It'd be nice but you're all dreaming. Same with Nussle.

    As much as I like first in the nation status, bottom line is the demographics have shifted away from us. Iowa is just not that important of a state anymore. We've done it to ourselves with decades of piss poor economic leadership and population drain.

    It might be wise to prepare yourselves for losing that status. I don't like it but you can see the writing on the wall.

  28. Anon 8:35...

    It might help if you knew WHAT you're talking about first.

    Iowa most certainly is still very relevant. Just ask Obama and Huckabee. Obama's win in Iowa put him on the fast track to the Dem nomination. If Obama had finshed behind Hillary and Edwards in Iowa..he'd been toast.

    Huckabee's win put him firmly on the national stage. Here was a guy who NO ONE thought had a shot in hell at winning the GOP nomination..and not only did he beat other candidates some of whom outspent him 20 to 1..he also managed to fire up a lot of the Republican base in Iowa in a way that hadn't been seen since Reagan in '80.

    By the way, Iowa's NOT going to lose First in the Nation Status.

    Back in August the RNC Rules Commitee passed a plan that keeps Iowa, NH, South Carolina and Nevada in their positions..and then has a MONTH's period before Super Tuesday in March of 12'. for other issues.

    I love the Anon cowards who are slamming MMM.. If you want to slam our candidates..have the guts to put your name by your statement. Otherwise..Shut the F up. :)

    Let's remind some of you knuckleheads of some things.

    1. Miller-Meeks outfundraised Reed, Hartsuch and Schmett COMBINED--in Iowa's most difficult Congressional district for a GOPer to run in.

    2. Everyone thought that there was NO way that Miller-Meeks could win the primary..yet..she beat out the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City based candidate.

    3. Miller-Meeks made quite a good name for herself for the future. We hope that she stays very involved in the party in whatever way possible.

    She didn't make a fool of herself by complaining that RPI "didn't support her" like Reed did. Still haven't heard Reed apologize when those rumors got proven false.

    She didn't complain like Hartsuch did about McCain. Perhaps Hartsuch should have been worrying about NOT showing up LATE for his only debate with Braley.

    The election's over now. Its time to focus on the future. Here's what I see we need to start doing.

    1. Bring in new faces in the RPI leadership. We can't afford to put anyone in that has links to our past problems in as Chair. We need to show our county leaders that there's a new show in town.

    2. We need to totally revamp how we conduct our campaigns, our fundraising and most importantly..our ORGANIZATION.

    For far too long we've been comfortable being a top-down hierarchy. However, what works in Mahaska County, may not work in Linn or Wapello or whatever county.

    We need to retrain all of our counties in grassroots organization..provide them the tools they need to train new leaders themselves at the county level...and then let our COUNTY leaders take more leadership in helping shape campaigns.

    We need to bring in new faces and fresh blood into our county organizations. State Party needs to return the practice of training and preparing leaders in HOW to win elections.

    Finally, we need to KNOCK off this "purity" crap. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to see the voter registration numbers..We're 150,000 or so down in registrations.

    Meaning, we've driven off alot of good people from the Republican Party..but also..we've failed to attract NEW people as well.

    Why? Could it be because there are many people don't feel welcome anymore in the GOP?

    Right now..we need all hands on deck that we can get. We've done more to cut off our noses in spite of our faces the past few elections. Its time to start turning that around NOW.

  29. Well I hope you're right Cedar. Looks as if Iowa's position is safe till the next Prez race at least.

    As far as the rest - dead on. There is a line where a candidate gets too liberal, but we've drawn that line so harshly we're driving good conservatives out of the party.

  30. Cedar and Matt you've hit the nail on the head. RPI needs to be supporting and training county leadership, not undermining them.

  31. i live in MD and Michael Steele wouldn't be able to get elected as a dog catcher. His time is come and gone.

  32. Well put Cedar Waxwing- especially dealing with what needs to be done.
    Been a County Chair for several years and RPI has lost contact with the GOP grassroots base in Iowa.
    They say in real estate its location location location- well in state wide politics its communication communication communication- a basic fundamental that has been lost at RPI. We start there.
    A unified message statewide. Identfy our values and go after the differences we offer from our counterparts. KISS- keep it simple stupid- 3-4 points based on what we believe and how we differ.
    New leadership with statewide support- positive and inclusive. We spent too much time, energy and dollars fighting within. Not sure if it cost us any single race but certainly cost us votes.
    We need to all answer a couple basic questions-
    What is the purpose of RPI? To my way of thinking it boils down to a plain and simple answer - win elections.
    Who are Republicans? There is not a b&W limus test. It is a group of voters that probably share 85-90% of the same principles and values, though maybe not the same priorities nor agree on how these principles should be presented.
    Finding the same language, same priorites and acceptable messenger is the task.
    We won our local Statehouse election despite being targeted as one of the top 2-3 races by the Dems and outspent 3:1.
    We did it with great candidate, a constant message and a good game plan. Not rocket science but rather common sense positve race that treated the voters as intelligent enough to make an educated selection.
    This is where we win- communication.
    Andy Cable
    Hardin County

  33. Gotta love the way Andy Cable takes all the talk and then makes sense of it in one statement. Maybe Andy should be our next state Chair. Keep up the good work Andy.

    Fact Finder

  34. Thanks for the write up on the potential candidates. Been hearing a lot about Michael Steele, didn't know anything at all about any other names that had been mentioned. You gave me a good starting place for research. I think this one is going to be much more important that it EVER has in the past. In addition to all the qualities mentioned by you and others on here, I want someone who's going to be savvy in using the Internet and new technology.

  35. I know no one know me, but for what little its worth my endorsement goes to Ken Blackwell of Ohio. For quick overview of the reasons why I see him as the RNC Chair candidate that is needed in the position for the GOP to come back from exile take a look at this article written by him a few days ago. ... ments=true