Posts Tagged ‘1st District’


Vote June 5!

Just a quick reminder, primary elections are tomorrow, Tuesday, June 5.  While Libertarians and the Constitution Party nominate by convention and we don’t know of any worthy Freedom Democrats in Iowa, there are several excellent Republican candidates scattered throughout the ballots statewide.  On Friday, wrote our primary primer and included our endorsed candidates – Will Johnson in SD-50, Kevin Wolfswinkel in HD-1, Josh Davenport in HD-2, Tom Shaw in HD-10, Tony Seliquini in HD-36, Matt DeVries in HD-37, as well as recommended candidate Jake Highfill in HD-39.

Today, we’ll throw out a few more last minute recommendations.  These are not “endorsements” per se, but if you remember our endorsement policy, a “recommendation” is our way of saying, “well, this guy is probably better than the other guy, you might want to look into him.”  We use it when there is no clear liberty candidate in the race, when we have reservations about someone, or when we just don’t know enough about him/her to endorse.

Iowa Senate District 6 – Matthew Ung

With a primary challenge to an incumbent lawmaker in Chris Rant’s district, Ung has marked himself as a rising star in the Iowa GOP.  He says a lot of the right things and has a lot of the right endorsements (Kim Pearson, Iowa Gun Owners, ect.) while the incumbent is a run of the mill mainstream Republican.  He tries to base his ideas on the Constitution, but tends to have a bit of the rose colored glasses syndrome towards his party and could get lost in the weeds bashing gays instead of fighting government encroachment when he gets to Des Moines, but based on what we know, we’d rather have him there than return Ron Jorgensen.  IFR doesn’t usually have much coverage in the desert that is western Iowa, so maybe our readers in Steve King Country could enlighten us as to Ung’s credibility.

Iowa House District 81 – Rick McClure

No website, no twitter, no facebook page, no money raised – IFR sincerely hopes Mr. McClure has been more active door knocking in Ottumwa than he has been knocking out blog posts and web ads because we just heard about him minutes ago and he sounds great.  McClure is an Air Force veteran and John Deere worker who is politically independent and was inspired to get involved by Dr. Ron Paul’s campaign.  Straight party voting is the reason he joined the GOP.  “Voting straight party at the ballot box is as irresponsible and lazy as casting a straight party vote on any bill up in Des Moines,” McClure told his hometown paper when asked why he joined the GOP.  Sounds like the kind of man we need in the State House.  We’re keeping this a “recommends” only because we haven’t had time to properly vet him.  Networking, people.

U.S. Congress District 1 – Rod Blum

Much of the freedom movement in northeast Iowa has been all atwitter – and all over twitter – about Mr. Blum for several months now.  But under the surface, there is a lot of uncertainty.  We’ve held off writing anything at all about Blum until election night eve out of fear of stirring things up one way or the other.  Go to Blum’s issue page and there’s virtually nothing to disagree with.  But this wasn’t always the case.  Blum is no new face on the scene, as a columnist for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, Blum has been carrying the water for big-government Republicans for a long, long time.  During the Bush administration, Blum proudly declared that he “doesn’t know what all my rights are” and that it was a moral imperative to invade random Middle Eastern countries.  While we encourage people to move from fascism to freedom in their thinking, one should always be wary of a politician who comes to you and says, “oh, dude, it’s totally different now!” right before an election.

We at IFR have a bit of a personal issue with this.  You see, your editor was on the front lines of recruiting Bob Barr to run for President in 2008, to the point where leading Libertarians (including past national staff members of the LP) fingered him as “the guy who got Barr into the race” because no one wants to be the one holding that bag.  How did Bob Barr repay us (including us personally)?  By endorsing Space Cadet Gingrich and abandoning the LP to prostrate himself on the pro-war, pro-big government altar of the GOP.  You’ll currently see him cheering whenever Mitt Romney shows up to campaign in Georgia.  Let’s hope Blum’s fortuitously-timed conversion is genuine because one person who hasn’t changed is Ben Lange, Blum’s opponent.  Lange is again looking for a way to return to the center of power, this time (thank God) minus the whole “Congress-should-decide-if-you-can-build-a-church-or-not” issue that attracted so much of Bruce Rastetter’s money to the 2010 race.  We were Lange’s harshest critic back then when we had a real dog in the fight.  Click his name at the bottom of the post, it all still applies.

So here’s our bottom line on Blum:  in the words of Stewie Griffin, “huzzah for the lesser of two evils!”

And in other news. . .

While it is quite unfortunate that State Representative Kim Pearson declined to run for re-election, she’s not getting out of politics completely.  After a few days of rumors following Kim Lehman’s decision not to see reelection, Pearson made it official – she will run for the position of Republican National Committeewoman.  Each state and territory is represented on the Republican National Committee by one man and one woman.  Iowa’s committeepersons will be chosen at the state Republican convention on June 16.  Pearson will compete with two announced statists, with other nominations possibly to come from the floor.  If you’re reading this site, you already know what we’ll be doing but for what it’s worth, Iowa Freedom Report hereby gives Representative Pearson our full endorsement.

After you vote tomorrow (assuming you have a candidate on the ballot worth the trip to the polls), be sure to catch Governor Gary Johnson on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  While Stewart is essentially a Democrat Party spokesman (perhaps the only credible one they have), lately his monologues have been leaning toward liberty and he is clearly respectful of our position and engages it in good faith so he’s certain to give Johnson a fair shake.  With a lot of disillusioned young voters up for grabs in the election, this could be Johnson’s breakout moment.  If you’ve been too busy with Republican caucus politics to think ahead to November, let this be your introduction to the man who proved that the moderate application of libertarianism to government is not only possible, but can be wildly successful and popular.


Prospects for Liberty Looking up in Iowa GOP

Reports are still funneling in from Republican district conventions across the state and we’re sure they’ll be all over the Pauloshpere by morning, but we had to give a quick recap.  Your Iowa Freedom Report team was deployed to District 4 today where freedom lovers were cautiously optimistic they could carry the day despite the frothy mix of out-dated neoconservativism and Opus Dei theocracy that swept the northwest corner of the state in January.

The major prize at stake in today’s conventions was control of the Republican state central committee.  The Register has a full recap of those election results and credits Paul backers with 6 of 12 seats up for grabs.  Craig Robinson at The Iowa Republican tweeted that 10 were either Paul supporters or favorable to Paul.  This includes people like Chad Steenhoek of Ames, a staffer on Gingrich’s super PAC who has worked with Paulites in the past.  Joel Kurtinitis (CD3), Kris Thiessen (CD4), Dave Cushman (CD1), Iowa Freedom Fund board member Jeff Shipley (CD2), John Kabitzke (CD3) and Marcus Fedler (CD2) are all well-known for their advocacy of smaller government.  What this likely means in a practical sense is that Iowa politicians will be forced to take seriously Paul’s ideas, even though the central committee is not itself a policy making body.  You’re also likely to see the group taking more stances on policy matters, taking cues from the actions of combative social conservative national committeefolks Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehmen.

Various other committee seats were up for grabs as well.  Freedom advocates ran mixed slates of Ron Paul supporters and their allies for every seat on the delegate nomination, credentials, rules, and platform committees.  Paul staffers were reluctant to share details with Iowa Freedom Report, but from where we sat, returns looked quite promising.  From a national standpoint, a majority on the nominating committee could mean a majority of Paulites in Iowa’s national convention delegation.  A majority there and in just four other states means that Paul could be nominated from the floor of the RNC in Tampa.  That would be a far cry from 2008, when Paul was barred from even stopping by the convention in St. Paul, despite a run allowing sitting Republican congressman free access to the convention floor.  Let’s put it this way, 2008 Libertarian nominee Bob Barr, an active opponent to John McCain was granted greater access to those proceedings than Paul.

One major coup attempt disrupted the convention briefly in Fort Dodge.  Someone, and at this time we are unable to determine with any certainty who it was, tried to push through major rule changes to the caucus to convention process.  For as long as any Iowa Republicans can remember, national delegates have been selected in a “district caucus” the night prior to state convention.  Technically, the district conventions go into “recess” for two months and re-convene the Friday night of convention for delegate elections.  This year, some forces, whether outside or local we don’t know, called for district conventions to elect national delegates then “adjourn.”  A claim was made that an unknown group (Paul supporters by implication) wished to hold “secret meetings” for delegate selection.  Of course, these “secret” meetings are the common practice and in fact quite well-publicized.  Ironically, while they were the presumed target, the Paul campaign urged all its supporters to defend the long ago agreed upon rules.  Whoever was behind the rules purge pulled out all the stops in CD 4.  Robocalls and emails went out the night before.  A young-looking Romneyian was even dressed up in Paul garb to disrupt the proceedings, shouting loudly about how undemocratic the process was and at one point acting as though he would square off with the sergeant at arms in a fist fight.  It was so well acted that some Paul supporters told IFR that they suspected the young man was actually a brilliant Paul loyalist attempting to use reverse psychology to convince the delegates that Paul was behind the unorthodox rules purge.  Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the convention voted down the intrusion.  It made for an interesting sideshow and perhaps a preview of what the establishment could pull at state convention as their cold dead fingers tighten their grip on the party.

Much progress was also made on the platform.  Planks that would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago sailed through with minimal objections.  Republicans committed themselves to a repeal of the Patriot Act (in Steve King’s district no less!), nullification of various mandates, and a complete abolition of the IRS.  Overall, the day provided a strong indication of the shifting winds within the Iowa Republican Party.  Now if we just had some candidates to go along with it, but we’ll have more on that in the coming weeks. . .


Potential New District Map Looks Promising for Liberty

Image from Des Moines Register

The first look at Iowa’s possible new Congressional districts could hold promise for the freedom movement.  Iowa’s declining population meant the loss of one seat in the House, meaning the duopoly-controlled Legislative Services Agency must propose realigned districts and the State Legislature must approve them.  While its not likely that the first draft will survive the process, it seems pretty good for our cause.

Incumbent politicians win re-election something on the order of 90% of the time, and in Iowa, that number creeps higher.  Despite polls showing high unfavorable ratings for Congress, Iowans returned all 5 Representatives and a Senator to Washington in 2010.  And while Debt Culver was the first incumbent governor ever to lose re-election, he lost it to a man who served 4 prior terms.  With Iowa losing a seat, it is a given that at least one incumbent will be defeated in 2012.  If this map holds up, we may be able to rid ourselves of two.

Most promising for our movement is the new 4th District, roughly covering the northwest quadrant of the state.  This will be a safe Republican district and would include both Republican incumbents – Steve King and Tom Latham.  While both are pretty hit-and-miss when it comes to the freedom message, a heated primary would force them to reach out to independent-minded freedom voters.  If it is a close race, votes from our movement could tip the scale to whoever offers us the best deal.  If, as I suspect, Congressman King jumps out to an early lead, Latham would have to move to the top of the Nolan Chart to court us while King doubles down on his neoconservative base.  The key will be staying non-committal in the early going.  Many Republicans simply see small-government voters as their natural constituency and are baffled when we don’t support their entitlement expansions, wars of choice, or get excited about their budgetary silver bullets like shifting PBS funding to a Republican pet project.  Whatever happens, in King vs. Latham, freedom Republicans can score a win if they play their cards right.

On the eastern side of the state, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack are new neighbors in a relatively Democrat-leaning 1st District.  This district swaps the Quad Cities for Cedar Rapids but otherwise looks similar to the old 1st.  Braley was badly bruised in last fall’s contest.  In fact, a Republican with Ben Lange’s money but Will Johnson’s message probably would have snuck away with a victory.  A strong effort in the caucuses by either Ron Paul or Gary Johnson could give a freedom candidate a running start in 2012, but any Republican will have an uphill climb in this district with Barack Obama back on top of the ticket.  Freedom voters might want to consider becoming “Democrats for a Day” and forcing either Braley or Loebsack to break ranks with his party and come out swinging against the Butcher of Benghazi’s warpath.  Braley has a good start, as we reported last week, but he has a disturbing habit of saying the right things only to do a bait-and-switch when its time to cast the vote.

District 3 will be Leonard Boswell’s domain.  Expect him to be a top Republican target again in 2012 as his district shifts south and west to include a lot of rural counties from Steve King Country in addition to Polk.  The open Republican primary could be a good place to run a freedom candidate since whoever come out is likely to be viable in the fall.  Freedom Senator Kent Sorenson doesn’t have a re-election to run for until 2014 and he’ll live in the new 3rd.  Just sayin’.

The new District 2 may sleeper for our cause.  There is no incumbent in this district, which now includes the Quad Cities (home of Iowans for Accountability, Super Liberty, and the Tea Party of the Quad Cities) along with libertarian Fairfield, and the University of Iowa.  If we can somehow talk Clyde Cleveland into retiring early from his numerous business venture and running for Congress, the Justin Amash might just lose his title as second best member of the House.  If the Republican nomination is out of reach, then this district might be a place where a Libertarian candidate could push for double figures in a 3 way race.  In addition to Cleveland, Ed Noyes, Richard Campagna, Dr. Chris Peters, and Dustin Krutsinger all live here and have some seasoning from previous campaigns.  The Democrats seem to be lining up Christie Vilsack to run in this seat if the plan holds up.  Republicans won Scott County in 2010 and the national party might be willing to gamble some serious coin on this seat if they can rake in big money.

Back in the Army, we had a saying, Murphy’s Laws of Combat we called them.  One of them was that no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.  So this plan may be destined to die on the legislature’s floor.  But if it holds, things could be looking up – potentially way up – for the prospects of liberty in Iowa in 2012.


Rob Petsche and Republic Now Crash Braley’s Party

Anamosa-based liberty activist and leader of Iowa Freedom Report strategic partner Republic Now of Iowa Brandon Echols files this report about campaigning with Iowa Freedom Report supported candidate Rob Petsche:

Congressional candidate for the Libertarian Party Rob Petsche held a get-together at the Anamosa coffeshop Grounds and Goodies.

The event went well and concluded with Rob Petsche and Republic Now activist Brandon Echols going door to door in the nearby residential area and meeting the citizens of Anamosa, one of many small towns in the southern portion of his district.

As it turns out, the incumbent Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Toyota) happened to be in the neighborhood at the same time.  Since Braley unfortunately was too busy to make it to any debates with his opponents, Mr. Petsche decided to drop by and introduce himself.

The day concluded when the Libertarian party of two recieved word of a private Union-member only meeting that Bruce Braley was holding in town! What are the chances of that? So Rob Petsche and Brandon Echols turn up.

With Brandon first inside the door, his hand was shaken immediately by a smiling, fake Bruce Braley (Rob Petsche’s opponent and current congressman). When Brandon introduced Rob Petsche to Bruce Braley and the crowd, his expression turned sour.

Rob quickly let Bruce know that he missed him at the debate last night that Braley skipped out on and so Rob had to debate establishment teo/neo-con Ben Lange who has the support of the Republican Liberty Caucus, showing that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Overall the union crowd was rather friendly and a few even asked for flyers of Rob Petsche and Gubernatorial candidate Eric Cooper of the LP.

Its great to see freedom activists turning up the heat and holding incumbent Democrats accountable.  Just one clarification however, to our knowledge, the Republican Liberty Caucus is not now and has not ever supported neoconservative Ben Lange.  As we have reported here before, the Republican Liberty Caucus of Iowa is as yet a nascent group in Iowa politics.  The first and only candidate the RLC has endorsed in Iowa was Ben Lange’s primary opponent Will Johnson.  Speaking of Lange, he has a new ad out saying “no party recruited [him], and no party owns [him].”  Somehow we missed that story, but check your local media for the story on how the Republican Party has ceased to exist.


Endorsement: Iowa Freedom Report Supports Rob Petsche for CD-1

Continuing Iowa Freedom Report’s endorsements ahead of next week’s mid-term election, we turn our attention to the Congressional races.  The one race in which we feel confident to step out and offer our endorsement on behalf of the entire big-tent, transpartisan freedom movement is CD-1.  In the race between Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Toyota), neoconservative Ben Lange, and Libertarian Rob Petsche, the choice is clear.  Support Rob Petsche.

They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps.  While that’s certainly not always the case (Jesus did pal around with lots of sinners, prostitutes, and worst of all tax collectors), its a good way to analyze this race.  Bruce Braley came into office with the Democrat sweep of 2006 and staked out a clear agenda of “no corporation left behind.”  He voted for bailouts of GM, AIG, and supported Toyota with a “Cash for Clunkers” bill so ridiculous that only a statist like Ben Lange’s mentor could support it.  Oh, and the Iraq War that class of ‘06 Democrats promised to end?  That’s still going on.  And he betrayed us on the Audit the Fed bill.  Do we need to continue?

If anything, Ben Lange shows us the importance of primaries in driving an agenda.  The Ben Lange of October would be shocked to hear the statements of February Ben.  Lange got into the race with the aim of strengthening Obama’s agenda of assassinating American citizens without trial and renewing the Patriot Act.  He dismissed the Federal Reserve as a fringe issue (though to be fair, the Fed is only important to those people in the 1st District who use American dollars for financial transactions, which is probably only 99.8-99.9% of them.)  Today’s Lange opposes ObamaCare, seeks ways for young people to escape Social Security, and barely mentions the anti-life cause.  But there’s that company one keeps again.  Lange’s biggest backer has been the neoconservative/corn subsidy group American Future Fund who have invested most all the resources not directed to attacking Rand Paul into helping Lange.  American Future Fund’s biggest beef with Braley?  He supported the right of a religious group to build a worship center on their private property.  Lange may have changed for the better, but his tacit opposition to the 1st Amendment shows him to be more political chameleon than leopard who changed his spots.  If he pulls the upset, count on the former Congressional aide during the “Culture of Corruption” years to take his marching orders from Boehner and McConnell and not from the Constitution.

Regardless of which party, if any, 1st District freedom activists chose to work through, we all have a stake in Rob Petsche’s success.  Unfortunately, he’s not going to win the race.  If there were enough freedom votes in the 1st District to elect Petsche, then Will Johnson would be your Republican nominee.  But there is a growing bloc of freedom votes that will become a force to be reckoned with if we keep moving the ball forward.  This site noted that Johnson’s primary campaign scored 3 times the votes that Ron Paul’s caucus effort or Barr and Baldwin’s combined 2008 totals.  We need to build on those numbers with a good showing for Petsche to force the major parties to pay attention to the Constitution.  The march to liberty might be long and slow, but momentum is on our side.  The tea parties have woken up sleeping conservatives; Will Johnson, Jim Budde, and Mike LaCoste put the fear of the people back into mainstream Republicans; local groups like Iowans for Accountability in the Quad Cities are causing headaches for statists left and right; nothing will kill the movement faster than rolling over and accepting more of the same from Braley and Lange.  Nothing will move it forward like a strong showing for Petsche.

Visit Rob Petsche’s website here and invest your vote in his message on Tuesday.


Libertarian Candidates Speak In Dubuque

By Ben Cashner

Libertarian candidates for Iowa governor and lieutenant governor Eric Cooper and Nick Weltha ended a “coast to coast” tour of Iowa with a whistle stop-type appearance in historic downtown Dubuque Saturday.  They had been on Iowa’s west coast in Council Bluffs a week before on Friday August 27 and had hit many towns in between.  The gubernatorial candidates were joined at the Dubuque event by Rob Petsche, Libertarian candidate for Iowa’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The candidates spoke from a gazebo in Dubuque’s Washington Park and strollers in the park paused to hear the message of liberty.

First up to speak was Rob Petsche.  Rob and his wife and two children live in Manchester.  He has been a high school teacher as well as working in the private sector.  Petsche is going up against incumbent Democrat Representative Bruce Braley and Republican challenger Ben Lange.  Petsche likes to point out that both of his opponents are attorneys with “ inside the beltway” ties, making Petsche a clearly different choice for voters.

Petsche’s speech trumpeted the successes and opportunities that this country offers which are unlike any other nation.  He said much of this was due to the wisdom of our founders, our system of free enterprise, and the work of entrepreneurial “heroes” like Sam Walton, Ray Kroc and Henry Ford.  Despite the many triumphs of the United States and its people, Petsche named a growing list of failures, mostly governmental, facing the the country.  These included the “wars” on drugs and poverty, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Petsche said many of the nation’s problems could be solved by returning to the county’s founding principles.  He said his goals for running were to promulgate libertarian ideas which are largely based on those principles and to simply give voters another option beyond those offered by the political duopoly.

Next up was gubernatorial candidate Dr. Eric Cooper.  Cooper is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Iowa State University.  He was born in Iowa, but was raised in Kansas before returning to Iowa to work at ISU.  Cooper has run for the Iowa legislature five times including the most successful run in Iowa Libertarian Party history, capturing 21% of the vote.

Cooper immediately came out of his corner swinging against the massive debt being accumulated by all levels of government.  Since children not yet born (much less voting) will be working to pay off much of this debt, he called that public debt “taxation without representation in its purest form.”

Then Cooper’s inner professor came out and he gave a refresher course on Jeffersonian principles of why government is needed at all.  According to Cooper, the government is the institution that is allowed to use force.  Activities that require force would include: 1. Protecting people from body crimes such as murder or assault. 2. Protecting people from property crimes such as theft, fraud, or vandalism. 3. Enforcing the terms of contracts when there is a dispute. 4. Providing public goods (which are goods that for some reason won’t be sufficiently supplied by the private market).

Cooper then addressed three key freedom issues in the state: eduction, marijuana legalization, and gay marriage.

Cooper said that the state does have an interest in subsidizing education, but should do so in a cost-effective manner.  Rather than providing blanket state funds to monopolistic public schools, state education funds should be distributed more like food stamps.  The state would give specific funding for each student to use at whatever school (public or private) that family chooses. This would inject market competition into the education system, hopefully leading to innovation and higher quality.  At a bare minimum, he said,  it could be tried on a trial basis in failing districts.

Speaking as a neuroscientist, Cooper said that marijuana was “less dangerous than caffeine” and should be legalized.  He said that drug prohibition had led to the same problems that alcohol prohibition led to in the 1920’s, namely a violent criminal underground to distribute the product.  Cooper said that other countries such as the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Portugal had legalized marijuana and had relatively few problems.  Such legalization could be on a two-year trial basis to see if the doomsday scenarios of the drug prohibitionists come true, Cooper suggested.

Cooper next spoke of gay marriage.  He compared gays to the Pilgrims before they left England: wanting to live their lives as they chose, but disliked by many of their countrymen.  (Being compared to homosexuals may well cause the priggish Puritans to spin in their graves, but it got the point across.)  He said that Iowans could vote to amend the Iowa Constitution to ban gay marriage, but voting to restrict the rights of a minority wouldn’t “feel like America.”

Dr. Cooper then said that his goal in the election was to get 2% of the vote, which would earn the Libertarian Party major party status in Iowa.  This would make it easier to run numerous candidates in future elections.  If the party can then begin to pick up about 10% of the vote on a regular basis the two major parties would be forced to start adopting libertarian issues to regain these votes.

Time will tell if that strategy plays out.


Neo-Cons Attack Braley for Supporting Property Rights

Looks like that old nemesis of liberty the American Future Fund of Des Moines is at it again.  This time however, they aren’t aiming their wealth at republican Rand Paul but at Democrat Congressman Bruce Braley.  Because of John McCain’s assault on free speech, groups like American Future Fund cannot run ads supporting candidates, but are restricted to attack ads.  Their latest ad attacks Braley for his stance that a religious group ought to be able to build its house of worship on its own privately-owned land.  Of course the house of worship in question is the controversial mosque proposed in New York City.  Opponents of the mosque call it the “terror mosque,” apparently because its would-be imam was a close confidant of the terror-ble president, George W. Bush.  The ad raises the question of the financing of the mosque, but neglects to mention that most of the funds are coming from the owners of Fox News.

Not long ago, The Simpsons ran an episode in which Bart gives the lay of the land at his school to a new student.  “We call Groundskeeper Willie, ‘Groudskeeper Stupid’” says Bart.  Overhearing this, Willie retorts, “that’s not clever, I’ve got so many aspects you could mock.”  Likewise, Bruce Braley has plenty of things he can be attacked on.  He’s been a rubber stamp for funding Bush and Obama’s wars.  He voted for ObamaCare.  He sold out to Obama and Pelosi by voting against an audit of the Federal Reserve, even after he co-sponsored the bill.  He flip-flopped and betrayed voters on the “BOMB” – the Bush-Obama-McCain Bailout officially called TARP.  He introduced the horrendous “Cash for Clunkers” scheme that enriched the UAW while destroying the market for cheap used cars available to working class Iowans.  In fact, Braley has been so terrible for freedom that when he gets something right, we can assume it was by accident rather than by a principled stance.

So why attack Braley for the one thing he gets right?  Obviously the neoconservatives at  American Future Fund are not fans of the 1st Amendment (or the rest of the Bill of Rights), but is this the position of Braley’s neoconservative challenger Ben Lange?  Lange’s own statement regarding religious freedom and property rights is much more parsed, though he does consider Braley’s support of religious freedom to be a “disconnect” with Eastern Iowans.  Lange apparently is not one of those Eastern Iowans who attends a church that has been threatened by crushing zoning regulations.  As a lawyer, Lange likely understands the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which was written to protect religious groups from excessive regulation.

Braley’s staff responded in the Des Moines Register:

“As a congressman, Bruce Braley is sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and that includes fighting for religious freedom. Religious freedom is a cornerstone of our nation’s democracy and this is a highly-charged, emotional issue for many people,”

So it’s good to see Braley has read one sentence of the Constitution and seeks to uphold it.  Now if we could only get him to read the Enumerated Powers.  Shame on American Future Fund for wasting its donors dollars by missing the huge target Braley’s record presents.  Voters in Eastern Iowa need to seriously consider the only candidate in the race 100% committed to our religious freedom and property rights, Libertarian Rob Petsche.


Primary Results: Freedom Moves Forward, the Empire Strikes Back

Terry Branstad (left) and Ben Lange arrive at a victory party on election night.

The freedom movement took a harsh beating in last night’s Republican primaries.  In CD1, where we had the biggest dog in the biggest fight, republican Will Johnson lost to imperialist Ben Lange by a margin of almost 8,000 votes 53% to 23%.  Proving you can never underestimate the stupidity of a Republican electorate, 25% of voters selected candidates who had dropped out of the race.  Though to be fair, Mike LaCoste didn’t so much drop out of the race as much as he just went off the meds, as he continued to pass out fliers and solicit votes long after he told the Waterloo Courier he was closing up shop.  (I really mean no offense, I wanted to like LaCoste but this man could have easily been the next Congressman from the district had he wanted to.  He has fundraising connections up the wazoo that he simply refused to tap and his problems with speaking and lack of intellectual depth are very solvable with a little effort.)

But when you dig into the numbers of the CD1 race, the picture gets much rosier for the movement.  In order to beat Johnson by a margin of 2-1, Lange had to outspend him 6-1 and outraise him 10-1, so the Johnson campaign proved the much more efficient vote getter.  Johnson’s 6,051 votes are the most for any freedom candidate in this district in the century.  To give some perspective on how far we’ve come, in 2008 Ron Paul collected only 1,799 votes from the district on caucus night.  Johnson more than tripled that number.  I didn’t crunch the numbers for statists, but its safe to say more of them got out for their presidential pick than for Lange.  Johnson also nearly tripled the strongest turnout for freedom ever seen in the district, Clyde Cleveland’s 2,352 for governor in 2002.  That’s a bit of a fudge though, depending on whether or not you count Bill Salier’s 13,365 in the 2002 GOP Senate primary, but while I’d reckon Salier to be part of our top half coalition, many of his voters probably weren’t.  Let’s just hope Johnson was smart enough to get at least a good chunk of those voters to sign up with their phone numbers and email so they can contribute to the movement in the future.

In the immediate aftermath of the loss, Johnson was not clear about his next step.  He declined to endorse Rob Petsche and continued to firmly turn down requests that he continue the race as an independent.  He once again offered Ben Lange the chance to win his support by embracing Constitutional principles.  It is unclear whether Lange and his Potomoc waters-sipping staff have yet figured out that we care about issues and not merely which jersey color wins the game, but Lange’s statement to the Telegraph-Herald that he couldn’t take any voter for granted and he would try to earn tea party support shows a humbler approach than the typical Republican “sit down and shut up” strategy of winning votes.

In addition to Johnson’s contribution to the growth of the movement and his superior efficiency, he can also point to the moral victory of driving the debate during the race.  Lange came into the race pointing to his long service in Washington, his high-ranking political connections, and his enthusiasm for President Obama’s foreign policy as reasons he should be the nominee.  By the end of the race, he was calling himself a “constitutional conservative” and promoting a teleconference “Freedom Forum” in which he claims to have addressed 30,000 tea party leaders, even after the actual tea party leaders in the district who were all backing Johnson were kicked off the call.  That number was pretty impressive, especially considering that only 26,591 people showed up to vote Tuesday and most of them probably we’re leaders of the tea party.

While there is lots of silver lining in Johnson’s loss, freedom tragically suffered the falling of a friend in State Senate District 41 where ally of the movement Dr. David Hartsuch was upset by a party hack.  Iowa Freedom Report endorsed Hartsuch and members of Super Liberty, the strongest pro-freedom group in the Quad Cities supported him in full.  While not organic to us, allies in the legislature like Dr. Hartsuch are few and far between and he will be missed.  Hopefully, someone will persuade him to run for reelection on the Constitution Party line.

You’ve already seen the story a hundred other places, but the candidates more favorable to freedom in the governor’s race, Bob Vander Plaats and Rob Roberts were soundly beaten by Terry Branstad.  Branstad’s allies apparently had enough money left over from attacking Rand Paul to buy off the votes of senior citizens.  On the other hand, those in our tent who lean more towards the “socially liberal” side of the “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” message can breath a sigh of relief that the next governor isn’t going to get sidetracked with an anti-gambling crusade.

In other races that Iowa Freedom Report was following, our endorsed candidate for Treasurer, Dr. James Heavens went down to a 66-33 defeat at the hands of David Jamison.  Endorsed candidate Darin Rulapaugh “won the bronze” in HD-18 while recommended candidate Tom Shaw won a surprisingly easy 55-39-6 contest in HD-8.  There are some other freedom candidates for the statehouse, whom we’ll no doubt introduce you to in the coming months, but all sailed through their primaries unopposed.

CD2 and CD3, which many thought would end up being decided in convention, instead produced surprisingly easy wins for Dr. Marianette Miller-Meeks and State Sen. Brad Zaun.  The movement didn’t really have a horse in either race, but Miller-Meeks has some freedom support and considers Constitutional conservatives to be part of the coalition she seeks to bring into her campaign.  Rob Gettemy, who had the potential to become a major ally for us in GOP politics finished a disappointing 4th place.  Hopefully we will have seen the last of Chris Reed after he notched just 14%.  In CD3, several observers commented that upon digging into Zaun’s voting record they discovered him to be much better than some who are usually touted as pro-freedom.

In the Senate race, 3,430 Iowans wrote in against Charles Grassley.  No break down is yet available on how many of those followed this editor in writing in Mr. Salier and how many “wasted their vote” on a “spoiler” candidate, “stealing votes” from Salier.  The closest candidate to a freedom Democrat, Bob Krause, polled just shy of 13% against the Conlin juggernaut.

All election results are taken from the Secretary of State’s Iowa Elections page.


DC Insider Lange Seeks to Divide and Conquer Tea Parties

Neoconservative party hack Ben Lange, an opponent of Iowa Freedom Report supported candidate Will Johnson in the 1st district, announced plans to host a “Freedom Forum 2010″ teleconference.  The conference call takes place at 6 pm tonight, but to participate you must send the Lange campaign your name, affiliation, and phone number.  The post on Lange’s website claims that 30,000 people will take part.

Lange had earlier pledged to unite a coalition of libertarians, conservatives, and Republicans against Bruce Braley.  That coalition took a bit of hit when last week the libertarian Republican Liberty Caucus and the conservative Tea Parties in Dubuque and the Quad Cities endorsed Will Johnson.  Undaunted, the former Congressional aide during a time of runaway government spending, has now taking to calling himself the “constitutional conservative.”  The campaign is no doubt banking on an inherent but hidden split in the tea party movement.  Roughly half of tea party participants are constitutionalists who share with this site our desire for “less government, not more” and would cross the street to avoid someone like Lange.  The other half is composed of partisan Republicans who could care less about issues but are simply angry that their half of the duopoly has been losing elections as of late.  Johnson, even before his campaign, has taken a strategy of uniting tea partiers by educating them and bringing once blindly partisan Republicans over to the freedom message.  Once the masses have been awakened, Lange realizes the tea party genie is out of the bottle and isn’t going back in, so his best hope is to emphasize and exploit potential divisions in such a way that he can skim off enough votes to win the primary.

The Lange campaign and its Washington masters likely have a secondary goal as well.  While we in the freedom movement take a long view of politics, we must understand that the enemies of liberty are no dummies, and they’re thinking ahead also.  If Lange can divide and conquer local groups, he win back some recent converts to freedom with the traditional Republican message to libertarians and conservatives:  “sit down and shut up.”  For those hardened in their faith in “that g-d damned piece of paper,” neocons are hoping that a Lange victory will cause them to lose hope,  thus abandoning the field of politics and allowing big-government politicians to coast through low-turnout elections back to office.

There has so far been no word from Johnson as to whether he will go after Lange’s base by hosting a competing Big Government Forum.  For those who would like to tune in and listen to the call of the endangered Iowa Pander Bear, that email is


Endorsement: Iowa Freedom Report Supports Will Johnson in CD1

Iowa Freedom Report today is proud to announce our first endorsement.  In what should be no surprise, we support Will Johnson for Congress in the 1st Congressional District.

Will Johnson is one of the first candidates in Iowa to come out of the freedom movement to challenge the status quo.  He is certainly the first freedom candidate for federal office to attempt to win nomination from a part of the duopoly.  This year, many candidates have come to our movement looking for support, but we must concentrate our support on the one who comes from us.

As this site has noted, Johnson has focused his political efforts after the Ron Paul campaign into building up the tea party movement.  Thanks to his work, while other tea parties throughout the country have been co-opted and corrupted into slavish followers of corporatist and socialist Republicans like Scott Brown, eastern Iowa’s tea party groups have remained independent beacons of liberty and constitutional principles.  Johnson’s organizational efforts resulted in increased participation of freedom advocates in the caucus-to-convention process, directly resulting in a district Republican platform that clearly and explicitly calls for balanced budgets, a precious-metal standard currency, a repudiation of torture and assaults on civil liberties, and a more conservative foreign policy.  Johnson’s work within the tea parties has been rewarded with the official endorsement of the Dubuque Tea Party (of which he is a member), the Tea Party of the Quad Cities, fellow tea party activist and former candidate Jim Budde, and the private support of other tea party leaders whose groups do not officially endorse.  Johnson also has the support of the Republican Liberty Caucus, the first and thus far only Iowa candidate with that distinction.

On the issues, Johnson has courageously stood up for both economic and personal liberty.  He is the only candidate in this race to call for the abolition of the Federal Reserve, even though that is a plank in the Republican platform.  He has a deep understanding of both monetary and fiscal policy and can articulate in great detail the differences between the Great Depression which was prolonged by the economic intervention Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt and the crash and quick recovery of the early 1920s when the last good Republicans Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge allowed the markets to correct themselves quickly and efficiently.  On foreign and defense policy, Johnson’s experience as both a Navy intelligence officer and a student in China uniquely qualify him to address vital issues.  Johnson understands the need for a strong national defense and that a truly American defense must honor our highest American ideals of human rights and national sovereignty.  Johnson’s professional experience has so made his chicken-hawk opponent look foolish that his previous stump speech phrase “we can’t tie the hands of the intelligence community” has now dropped out of usage.

For all the positives of supporting a champion of the Constitution, it is equally important that we as a movement oppose establishment party hacks like Ben Lange, the other candidate in the race.  After he was finished avoiding military service, Mr. Lange went to Washington DC to serve as a Congressional aide.  During Lange’s years inside the the beltway, the Republican majority dramatically increased spending including new entitlement programs, tapped the phones of American citizens without warrants, doubled of the size of the Department of Education, created of several new bureacracies, and pursued a fiscal policy that encouraged inflation of the money supply and a pumping up of an overheated housing market.  There has been absolutely nothing in Lange’s background or his speeches to indicate that he in any way would deviate from the practices of his Washington masters.  As one prominent 1st District Republican put it, “Lange doesn’t want to tear down the castle, he wants to get a room in it.”  Lange’s endorsements have come from the top down rather than the bottom up – party leaders and corporate welfare queens.  When Newt Gingrich says we need Lange, you can see exactly what he means.  Conservative Republicans need Lange just like they needed Hillary Clinton, just like they needed Dede Scozzafava, just like they needed Joseph Cao the Gingrich-backed Republican who cast the lone R vote for ObamaCare.

Help score a double victory for freedom on June 8 by nominating a freedom candidate and rejecting another neo-con chickenhawk DC insider – donate, work, and vote for Will Johnson on June 8.

Look for Iowa Freedom Report’s continuing primary coverage all this week with our thoughts and op-eds on the governor’s race, statewide races, and other congressional district contests.