Posts Tagged ‘conventions’
» posted on Sunday, August 26th, 2012 at 8:42 pm by Editor
Iowa Republican Leaders Decry Exclusion in Tampa While Excluding Gary Johnson in Iowa
In 1968, Riceville elementary teacher Jane Elliott used her third grade classroom for an intriguing and controversial experiment. One of the objectives: to see if a group that had been harshly discriminated against in the past would be magnanimous in power or treat their lessors with the brutality they had experienced as an underclass. On one day, Ms. Elliot segregated her classroom and awarded privileges to the blue eyed children based on a fabricated claim of blue-eyed superiority. The azure-irised in the class quickly turned haughty and lauded their position over the darker. The next day, Elliot announced that oops, she’d made a mistake, the brown eyed were actually superior and the blue eyed worthy of revulsion. The tables thus turned, the browns gave back as bad as they’d gotten the previous day.
If you’re a regular reader of IFR, then doubtless you’ve read the reports by now coming out of the pre-convention meetings of the Republican National Committee. Before the whole body of delegates assembles Monday (weather permitting), various committees meet to set internal party policy for the next four years. Representatives of the Romney campaign have rammed through several changes that will have far reaching effects. Chief among those for us Iowans is that national delegates will no longer be elected independently, but rather will be chosen to represent the candidate who won the popular caucus vote. Penalties for moving ahead of the Iowa Caucuses on the nomination calendar, while never before enforced in practice, are now gone completely. What this means is that it will no longer be possible to run a grassroots campaign focused on retail politics and winning over delegates. Not only does this mean no more campaigns like Ron Paul 2012, it’s likely the death knell to social conservative operations that tend to be cash-poor and volunteer-heavy. Then, just to pile on, the Mittiots went ahead and invalidated the results of the Maine delegate selection process, dumping any delegate who supported Paul in February. Not only would liberty-oriented grassroots Republicans be shut out in the future, they were silenced in the present.
Iowa Republican leaders are understandably upset. Party Chairman A.J. Spiker told Radio Iowa that he was “shocked” by the divisive move. National Committeeman Steve Scheffler took to facebook to urge a fight “to see what we can do to reverse some bad stuff that shafts grassroots folks. We are NOT going to be silent!!!”
All of which brings us back to Iowa. At the same time Iowa Republican leaders are pushing for inclusion at their convention, they are working to force Governor Gary Johnson off of the ballot in the general election. Earlier this month, Libertarians filed 2,000 signatures on petitions to secure a place on the ballot. Iowa law requires just 1,500 to make the ballot so 133% of the requirement was a substantial cushion. In fact, no candidate’s petition which exceeded the statutory requirement had been invalidated in Iowa history. But Matt Schultz is no ordinary Secretary of State. We tried to warn Iowans in 2010 when we endorsed Jake Porter that hyper-partisanship in this office would damage the integrity of our electoral process. With the flimsiest of logic, Schultz simply threw out the Libertarian petition. In its place, the Secretary of State’s office offered to let Johnson and the LP on the ballot if they could fulfill two requirements – hold a public “caucus” to nominate Johnson and gather an additional 250 signatures. Apparently this process has been tried before, its how Gloria LaRiva made the 2008 ballot as the Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate. Alerted to the goings on, the Republican Party of Iowa has filed a challenge and retained the largest law firm in the state. Against a highly-paid legal team in a court judged by a corrupt Republican official, the Libertarians have only truth, precedent, and a pro-bono attorney.
So to update Ms. Elliot’s question forty-four years later, what happens when a group that’s experienced being kicked around, bullying, exclusion, and discrimination takes over the Republican Party of Iowa? Well, teacher, if you’re A.J. Spiker and his cronies, you’ve borne the burnt of the battle in a past political life as a liberty advocate, apparently you look for the next smallest guy in the fight and take it out on him. But maybe its not the color of your eyes that matters. It’s the partisan blinders you’re wearing over them.
The Gary Johnson campaign takes a little less poetic license that we here at IFR perhaps, but their press release lays out a good timeline of the case. Their attorney is a friend of the site and was kind enough to lay out the legal arguments favoring the LP, but we’ll save those for the recap. If you’re able to make it to Des Moines, there will be a rally held at the Secretary of State’s office at 1pm, this address: Iowa Secretary of State’s Office, 321 E. 12th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319. The official release is as follows:
REPUBLICANS TRY TO KEEP LIBERTARIAN GARY JOHNSON OFF THE IOWA BALLOT
Romney Supporters File Challenge Urging Secretary of State to Exclude Libertarian
Nominees from the Ballot in November
Jay Kramer, a Mitt Romney campaign operative from Washington D.C., filed a
challenge on Friday to keep Libertarian candidate for President, Gary Johnson, from
appearing on the ballot in November. The Romney campaign hired the largest law
firm in Iowa, the Des Moines based, Nyemaster Goode PC, for the challenge, which
will be heard by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Shultz on Monday at 3 pm.
“This is clearly a set up,” said the Johnson campaign’s attorney, Alicia Dearn.
“Romney can’t beat Johnson on the debate stage, so he has resorted to cronyism.
The Libertarian Party had two thousand petition signatures and should have been
on the ballot without challenge, as they have always done in the past. But
Republican Shultz [Iowa Secretary of State] – in violation of longstanding Iowa law –
rejected the petition and required the Johnson campaign to caucus at the state fair.
There, the Romney campaign surveilled the Johnson campaign’s activities for the
sole purpose of bringing this eleventh-hour challenge,” Dearn said.
The Romney campaign’s challenge was filed Friday afternoon and set for a hearing
on Monday afternoon. The 106-page challenge includes pictures of Johnson
supporters asking fair-goers to support having Gov. Johnson and the Libertarian
Party offered as a choice on the ballot.
The challenge claims that the state fair signatures should be thrown out because the
signers are not Libertarians. “The challenge is legally frivolous,” asserts Dearn.
“You don’t have to be a registered Libertarian to want a third choice on the ballot.
Iowans deserve to choose for themselves who to vote for, which is why Gov. Johnson
should be on the ballot and allowed to debate Romney and President Obama.
Democracy suffers when voices are silenced.”
Unlike other states, Iowa has a perfect history of allowing third-party candidates
onto the ballot and is known for its independent-minded voter. “Iowa is one of the
very few states that has never kept any general election presidential candidate off
its ballot,” said ballot access historian Richard Winger. “It is a policy that saves
money and work for elections officials, because Iowa doesn’t need to tally write-in
votes for presidential candidates when all such significant candidates are on the
Republicans fear that Johnson, a former Republican two-term Governor from New
Mexico, will siphon votes from Romney and create a victory for Obama. It is a claim
that Governor Johnson does not shy away from. In a YouTube video titled, A
Freedom is Never Wasted, Johnson says, “They deserve to lose your vote.” Iowa is
expected to be a battleground state this election.
According to Dearn, the Romney campaign is using similar tactics to keep Governor
Johnson off the ballot in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and is pressuring the
Commission on Presidential Debates to exclude Governor Johnson from the
televised national debates. The Romney campaign has also been accused of fraud
and bullying of Ron Paul delegates in several lawsuits throughout the country and
protests by Ron Paul supporters are expected at the Republican Party convention in
Tampa later this week. “Paul supporters were treated really badly in Iowa by the
Romney campaign,” Dearn said.
As the Libertarian candidate for President, Johnson promises to submit a balanced
budget to Congress in 2013 and to reduce wasteful spending, advocates for reducing
government intrusion into the everyday lives and liberties of Americans, supports
the Constitution, and advocates for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Johnson will be on the ballot in all 50 states and has been qualified by the FEC for
Federal matching funds. His running mate is retired California Superior Court Judge
and former Naval officer, Jim Gray.
If you would like more information about the legal proceedings in Des Moines,
please contact Alicia Dearn at 858-750-5800, email@example.com.
If you would like more information about Governor Gary Johnson’s 2012
Presidential campaign, or to schedule and interview with Gov. Johnson or Judge
Gray, please contact Joe Hunter, 801-303-7924, firstname.lastname@example.org or
Natalie Dicou, 801-994-0321, email@example.com. Press kits may
be found at www.garyjohnson2012.com/media.
» posted on Sunday, June 17th, 2012 at 10:55 pm by Editor
Ever since our Randslide victories at district conventions in April, Iowa Republicans have vowed to send Ron Paul supporters packing. After this weekend, that’s exactly what they’ll be doing – packing their bags for Tampa and the Republican National Convention that is. Twenty one of Iowa’s twenty eight national delegates in August will be either liberty activists or allies of the movement. Add Paul co-chair turned RPI head man AJ Spiker, who is an automatic delegate by virtue of his position, and the total is twenty two.
The victory this weekend is especially sweet as it came after a hard fought battle. Initially, caught off-guard by the energy and organization of the freedom movement, the establishment came to Des Moines prepared. “I was in Vietnam,” said Paul state chair Dr. Drew Ivers, who still has a slight limp from a Viet Cong 7.62 round to the ankle, “I know something about guerrilla warfare, you hide in the weeds then you get ‘em. But this was a real fight.” Like the French at Dien Bien Phu, mainstream Republicans expected to lure the insurgents to open warfare and crush the independent movement. The result of their cocky ploy? See reference above.
The convention kicked off on Friday night (technically a “re-convene” of the Districts) where three national delegates, three alternates, and one elector were choose in each room. In April, Paul staffers played fast and loose with slate cards, spreading them throughout convention halls. This weekend, it was cloak and dagger stuff. Phone calls went out to Paul supporters letting them know to find men wearing white hats to get their instructions. Meanwhile, big-government Republicans donned blue ribbons in a silent show of support for a “unity slate” of their own. In at least one district, “unity slate” proponents showed their hands too soon, nominating two Santorum-supporting candidates from the proposed official Nominating Committee slate (to be voted on Saturday) as delegates on Friday night. This move puzzled unaffiliated voters who didn’t understand why people already on the list would take spots away from Friday night’s other candidates. Paul supporters went on to romp in CD-3 and CD-4. CD-1 took longer to elect their delegates despite the meeting being ably chaired by former IFR columnist Will Johnson. Part of that was due to a disruption by a Mittiot [Mitt + idiot, get it? Cause we're using it from now on.] screaming that he wasn’t going to have anything to do with Paul. Needless to say, not a winning message in a district Paul won in January, and CD-1 eventually came away with all three delegates and alternates loyal to liberty.
For reasons that have never been fully explained, CD-2 and its predecessors always have contentious conventions and Friday night was no exception. The freedom movement thought it had a strong slate but were playing on the home turf of “unity slate” kingpin Bob Anderson of Johnson County. Paul staffer and ex-Iowa YAL chair Ani DeGroote cruised to election but the remaining slots were harder to sort out. According to reports we got, an overly-energetic Paul supporter who wasn’t on the slate ran of his own accord. Realizing the potential for vote splitting to knock out two Paul delegates, Jeremiah Johnson, who drew controversy for endorsing Paul while sitting on the State Central Committee, fell on the grenade and dropped out to clear a path for Fairfielder Ed Kelenyi. When the smoke finally cleared, the only delegate elected from the vaunted “unity slate” was its leader, Mr. Anderson himself. His prize will be four days in Tampa being surrounded by Paul supporters, a humiliated general with no soldiers held prisoner in the enemy camp.
By the next morning, neocons had caught on to the white-hat trick and outfitted one of their own with a similar ball cap. Richard “Tricky Dick” Rogers stood at the door trying not to look foolish as he impersonated a Paulite and passed out the “unity slate” list of names for Saturday. Fortunately, with his gray hair and highly conspicuous ear piece he fooled no one. Ol’ Tricky Dick couldn’t even humble himself enough to wear a Kim Pearson lapel sticker, even though it would have helped his costume. When the convention started, the Great Romney Rules Purge we wrote about in April resumed in full force as Mittiots sought to carve out a loophole in the convention rules to allow them to substitute their slate for the slate chosen by the duly elected and fully transparent Nominating Committee (remember, 12 delegates are elected by districts, 13 by the full convention as part of the Nominating Committee list). Long time state party leader made the audacious claim from the floor that no Santorum supporters were on the Committee list, despite the fact that the committee designed the slate (in particular the alternates) as a frothy mixture of several factions. Their efforts at substitution failed, but so did a countermeasure by the freedom movement to elected delegates one at the time should the Nominating Committee slate be voted down.
In addition to delegate votes, the state’s male and female representatives to the Republican National Committee were also chosen. The Committeeman race was held first, chivalry apparently being dead in the Iowa GOP. This was a race that begged for a NOTA option, the kind Libertarians used at their convention to rebuke a supposedly inferior field of potential party officers. With IFR’s tweeted pleas to Nick Sarwark coming to naught, we were left with incumbent Steve Scheffler, David Chung, Vanderplaatsian Robert Cramer, and Judd Saul. Scheffler was the “official” choice of Ron Paul’s leaders but was largely unpopular among the grassroots. There is a certain revisionist history going on in the neocon blogosphere attempting to transfer all of Scheffler’s questionable past activities to the Paul camp but this is undeserved. A simple poll of the number of people wearing Tamara Scott and Scheffler stickers versus the number of people publicly standing for Scheffler and Kim Pearson would have borne out the lack of enthusiasm within the movement for Scheffler. Saul made a direct appeal for Paul support, but he’s burned that bridge in the past and now many found it hard to cross over for him. To be fair, we must say this about Saul. IFR had previously thought Mr. Saul to be slightly overweight. Now we realize that his extra wide pants were needed merely to cover his ginormous balls. Somebody had to say what he did, we’re kinda glad it was him and not us.
On the women’s side, we had a clear horse in the race with outgoing freedom legislator Kim Pearson earning the strong support of IFR and the freedom movement as a whole. In what was probably the most accurate way of tallying exactly how many freedom fans were in the room, Pearson won a wide plurality in the first round of balloting 755-514-339-81. Pearson fired up her base by may have doomed her candidacy during her speech when she held up an attack flier from one of the Rastetter’s shady fascist organizations listed her supposed flaws including supporting conservatives over moderates in contested primaries. With enough paperwork distributed on the chairs to fill out a phone book in some Iowa counties, many delegates had never seen the flier until Pearson brought it on stage. “I’m not one of them,” she declared, but sadly, much of the convention was. The second round of balloting became a stop-Kim Pearson vote as supporters of the eliminated delegates through their weight behind Tamara Scott and dashed hopes of sending a true small government representative to the committee.
Their is a bit of revisionist history out there regarding Pearson as well. Liberty’s best frenemy Steve Deace posted to his facebook page that “the folks claiming to lead a revolution based on principle and undoing corruption aided and abetted a liar to win re-election, while one of their own who has told and stood for the truth was abandoned.” The numbers simply do not support this conclusion, nor does the testimony of any freedom activists we spoke with. In the first round of balloting Pearson received 755 votes and Tamara Scott 514. In the second round, Pearson only increased her vote total to 782 while Scott surged to 826. To accept Deace’s conclusion, you’d have to believe that Scott’s bump came from Paul supporters switching to Scott while Stoldorf and Davidson voters split evenly. What incentive existed for Paul supporters to switch sides, especially the younger delegates in punk rock regalia who refused any Republican flair save that promoting Pearson? We love Kim Pearson and if we could, we’d make 51 clones of her – one to marry and fifty to elect to the State Senate. We simply had a plurality of delegates and not an outright majority. For whatever reasons, Scott appealed to the middle of the road, non-faction fighting delegates and Pearson did not. It’s a damn shame, and its insulting to suggest we knifed her in the back after all she’s done for us.
With the freedom movement reeling from Pearson’s defeat, the outcome of the Nominating Committee slate looked to be in doubt. A spirited effort was made to throw it out and start over without an officially recognized process for doing so was launched in the final thrust of the Great Romney Rules Purge. After voice votes and a standing division were inconclusive, a move from the floor called for paper ballots which was agreed to by the convention chair. It turned out that the neocons just yelled a little louder, summoning an enthusiasm sorely lacking at rallies for their candidates during the caucus season. The paper ballot tally was 794 in favor of the Committee slate and 698. With eleven of twenty eight already in the books, the ten freedom activists on the list clinched the majority for Ron Paul. Half a year after that cold January night, Ron Paul declared victory in Iowa.
With the platform debates still to come, neoconservatives fled the hall in droves, one can hope returning to the Democrat and Socialist Worker’s Parties from whence they came. Their ideology has brought tears to thousands in the last decade – Iraqi Christians murdered by Shiite militias empowered by the occupation, widows and orphans of our soldiers fallen in Afghanistan, red-blooded patriots back home weeping for their lost liberties, peaceful protestors sprayed with tear gas for daring to question how millionaire bankers with failing companies got rich on the tax dollars of the working class – but on Saturday it was many of them who wept on their way out. For them, “their” party was slipping out of their grasp and their twin weapons of the military-industrial-congressional complex and the Fed’s printing press perhaps to soon follow.
With half of the delegates gone, platform debate was an anticlimax. Much of the heavy lifting was done by freedom-friendly platform committees who have bequeathed the Iowa GOP with a fine document upholding our great nation’s founding principles. Those who stuck around fought off a challenge to the no foreign aid plank and educated their fellow delegates about the finer points of currency and agricultural policy with their own proposals.
It was not a day without some losses, as not having Kim Pearson on the RNC will be tough after we came so close. Her speech and the nominating speech by Glen Massie served as a sobering reminder of how much those two will be missed in the Iowa House. But the direction of the Republican Party in Iowa has been turned for the better, perhaps irrevocably. If we stay united and exert the same effort to defeat Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Terry Branstad, Mike Gronstall, and their ilk as we did to win this weekend, there just might be “Hope for America” after all.
» posted on Friday, May 4th, 2012 at 5:10 pm by Editor
Day two of the Libertarian National Convention here in sunny Las Vegas was again devoted primarily to internal party business. With by-laws mostly out of the way, Libertarians took up the issue of revising the party platform. Unlike the Democrat or Republican conventions you might be used to back in Iowa, there was little of substance for freedom fighters to advocate for, as most proposals sought to re-word or modify the already libertarian principles contained in the document. For those not willing to devote their time to wordsmithery, the convention offered several breakout sessions featuring current and past party leaders. Manny Klausner of the Reason Foundation gave a talk on using lawsuits to challenge big government. His presentation ran the gamut of issues from affirmative action to ObamaCare. Dr. Nancy Lord, the LP vice-presidential candidate in 1996 spoke on her area of expertise, medical research. The FDA’s incestuous relationship with major drug companies, she told delegates, results in good medicines being tied up in the bureaucracy whilst dangerous ones are rushed to the public. From a past to a current candidate, one of the LP’s most promising challengers, Rupert Boneham of Survivor fame told a personal story of his path to libertarianism and his campaign for Indiana Governor. By appearing in the debates, Boneham claimed, he was going to get not only his state but the nation talking about the ideas of liberty.
The convention is currently recessed to allow for setting up the stage for tonight’s Presidential debate. In contrast to past conventions, only the top two candidates qualified to take the stage. Governor Gary Johnson and Lee Wrights will square off live in front of a nationwide audience on CSPAN. To determine eligibility, the LP uses a unique system of polling its delegates. When registering, each delegate is given a “token,” actually a small postcard, on which they write the name of the candidate they’d like to see in the debate. Only those candidates with a certain percentage of tokens gets a seat. Johnson’s campaign has hustled for tokens from the beginning, urging supporters to get them in early. Wrights’ campaign on the other hand, gathered them up and dropped them in the ballot box en masse this morning.
Make sure you tune into C-SPAN at 8pm Iowa time to catch the debate. As always, we’ll be tweeting from the floor @IAFReedomReport using the hashtag #lnc2012 and will give you a recap as soon as we sober up from tonight’s parties, err, ah, have time to compile a full report.
» posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 at 8:13 pm by Editor
The afternoon portion of day one of the Libertarian National Convention was devoted to a debate on bylaws of the party. Much of the debated devolved into conflicts between the various factions and strong personalities within the party. Without delving into the specific characters (some of whom we hope to introduce you do in future posts), we’ll look at a few which have relevance to our Iowa readers. One interesting topic brought up for debate was the idea that the entire membership of the party should vote on either party leaders, bylaws, or both by means of e-mail balloting. Currently, party leadership is voted in at each biennial conventions and bylaws adopted at the same time. This of course means that only those Libertarians with the time, money, and interest to travel to a national convention run the party. On the one hand, this is problematic as the vast majority of Libertarian activists have no say in how their party operates. On the other, those who demonstrate an interest in party business should logically have the most say. If you suggest otherwise, you’d be joining our friends over at The Iowa Republican who are trying to push the idea that Santorum and Romney supporters should be rewarded for their unwillingness to attend GOP meetings by gaining national convention delegates vastly out of proportion to their desire to participate in the process. All such motions were defeated on the floor, but all those interested in internal party politics (regardless of party) should take a look at the possibilities, good and bad, of this sort of thing coming down the pike.
Also of interest to freedom fighters in Iowa was a heated debate over what to do about those people who are not registered as Libertarian voters but who wish to take leadership positions in the party. Again, both sides raised valid points. To survive as a party, the Libertarian Party must have people committed to it in exclusion of all other parties. Yet, to further the “small-l” libertarian movement as an ideological force, many Libertarians changed their party affiliation to support Ron Paul in the Republican primaries. Indeed, the mere mention of Paul’s name elicits more cheers from the floor than anything else that could be said. Ultimately, a reasonable compromise was reached: Party leaders must be registered Libertarian voters (if their state allows) but rank and file delegates would not be excluded if they crossed party lines on Paul’s behalf.
The Iowa delegation swelled to its full strength of six members with the late arrival of some who elected to drive the entire distance from the Hawkeye state. With bylaws debates dragging on late into the afternoon, most of the Iowans decided to try their luck elsewhere in Vegas. A mixer was held by Americans for Prosperity at a local pizza joint owned by a Nevada LP member. While AFP is often considered to be a partisan Republican group (and indeed, the Iowa chapter is lead by a noted gay-basher) staffers on-site assured Iowa Freedom Report that they are interested in issues, not parties. At least not political parties, as their shindig was lively and well-attended, including by about half the Iowans.
The chief party starter of this evening is the star of the show, Governor Gary Johnson himself. Johnson’s fundraiser/rave features a cash bar and a prominent local DJ. For a more intellectual evening, there will be a debate between candidates for Libertarian Party Chairman in a penthouse suite hosted by a prominent Massachusetts LP leader. The current chair, Mark Hinkle has provided the party with steady leadership for two years but has angered some who feel he has rammed through a more moderate agenda at their expense. Ironically, his only prominent challenger also hails from the moderate wing of the party. Mark Rutherford has held various party offices and worked independently as a campaign consultant. Either would serve the party well, so it will be interesting to see how contentious their competition becomes.
The Presidential race is still the main event and is always in the background of the proceeds. At this point the race seems to have come down to Governor Gary Johnson and Lee Wrights. Johnson is the favorite of the “reform” faction who wishes to see the party put forth its most experienced and credible member. Wrights is favored by the “radicals” who believe that for the party to grow, it must distance itself for the duopoly as far as possible, and cannot accept Johnson’s compromised positions on such things as the Fair Tax and certain military interventions. Johnson is the frontrunner, but is taking nothing for granted, sending emissaries to poll every delegate in the room. Rumor has it that Wrights is already thinking of throwing his hat in the ring for the Vice Presidential nomination, though his support from his home state of Texas gives him a lot of fans here.
We’ll be back to give you more reports tomorrow. Be sure to follow @IAFreedomReport on twitter for shorter updates throughout the night. Finally, a big shout out to all the IFR readers we’ve met at the convention. While we have a statewide focus, its great to see we already reach a nationwide audience.
For more LP convention coverage, don’t forget our friends at Independent Political Report.
» posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 at 1:34 pm by Editor
Iowa Freedom Report is on the road this week in the Silver State embedded with the Iowa Libertarian delegation to bring you reports from the LP national convention. We had hoped to publish a full primer, but we’ve been too busy with crucial convention business. So instead, we’ll bring you sporadic coverage from the floor, leading up to the selection of the Libertarian candidate for President on Saturday night. Be sure to follow our twitter feed @IAFreedomReport for more up to the minute coverage. There will also be regular updates from our friends at Independent Political Report, whom we may or may not get pressed-ganged into writing for at some point.
On the first formal day of business, tempers flared and much time was wasted as the convention debated the Credentials Committee report. Normally, this is uncontroversial, but a split in the Libertarian Party of Oregon led to two different factions showing up in Vegas to represent their state. We won’t go into the excruciatingly boring detail, but one side is the recognized affiliate party and approved by the LP national Judicial Committee. Inexplicably, the Credentials Committee elected to seat the other faction. After an hour of debate, the Credentials Committee won out and the official/renegade faction has been dispersed amongst the other states.
Our Hawkeye State delegates are much less contentious. Five are on the floor now with the remainder due to arrive later this evening. Delegates have heard a keynote speech from Michael Cloud, a fundraiser and campaign manager whom Libertarians have dubbed the “greatest Libertarian communicator.” Cloud’s speech focused on helping candidates and activists make the case for liberty in their hometowns. When you ask someone how much they think government wastes, then tell them the Libertarian Party is fighting it, their only question is “where do I sign up?” Cloud claims. Most of the Iowans then filed out to a breakout session in which the party’s Executive Director Carla Howell recounted her efforts to repeal the Massachusetts income tax. A simple message back by promises of specific actions are the key to promoting Libertarian solutions, Howell says.
The two main contenders for the Presidential nomination, Governor Gary Johnson and longtime LP leader Lee Wrights are making the rounds. Johnson’s campaign is throwing a bash tonight that we’ll certainly attend and may or may not report from.
Stay tuned to IFR, and we’ll be back with more updates as the convention proceeds.
» posted on Saturday, April 21st, 2012 at 8:01 pm by Editor
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. . .
» posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 2:53 pm by Editor
The famed patriot John Adams once declared that it did not take a majority to prevail, only a tireless minority dedicated to setting brush fires in the minds of the public. When, some twenty or so such patriots gathered this weekend at the Hilton Garden Inn in Johnston for the 2012 Libertarian Party of Iowa convention, opening minds was the topic of the day.
Party chairman Ed Wright encouraged delegates that libertarian voices are growing. He mentioned movements like the tea parties and Occupy that, while not wholly dedicated to liberty, were at least standing up and challenging the statist quo. Wright urged Libertarians to educated themselves, reading up on the founding documents, and not relying on a government school system to teach resistance to government. Once educated, he exhorted Libertarians to “urge others to come to terms with the solutions that freedom brings.”
Keynote speaker Beth Cody, a columnist and author from Iowa City, demonstrated how she turned to fiction writing to broaden her outreach to those who would not be interested in her political columns. “Time and free markets can make everything better,” she told the crowd, “even political systems.” With fiction, new ideas can be introduced, to show people that a better way is possible. Her new book, Looking Backward, does just that. The novel is a take-off on the utopian socialist fiction of 19th century writer Edward Bellamy. In Looking Backward, Bellamy’s Professor Julian West wakes up, not in a worker’s state but in a glorious libertarian future circa 2162. For those not literary-minded enough to be familiar with Bellamy, its essentially Futurama but with Earth ruled by the disembodied head of Ron Paul rather than Richard Nixon (and no Zoidberg).
The convention also featured a surprise guest speaker in Gary Roeve, who was one of the founders of the LPIA in the 1970s. Appropriate for a party celebrating its 40th year, Roeve gave an impromptu speech on the early days of Libertarian activism. Inspired by Ayn Rand, Roeve began to work with Ben Olsen to start an Iowa chapter of the newly-minted LP in 1972. Finding others brought on board by the presence of an Iowan on the top of the ticket, a chapter was formed in Ames in 1975. Roeve would go on to work on policy for the 1976 Roger McBride and 1980 Ed Clark Presidential campaigns as well as several local races, before despairing of the task moving the state towards freedom.
Awards were given to party members who competed in local 2011 elections. Nick Taiber won re-election to the Cedar Falls city council and Roger Fritz was elected for a non-consecutive term as Roland mayor after his neighbors wrote him in. 2010 CD2 Congressional candidate Gary Sicard lost his race for Robins city council in a multiple candidate field, but was optimistic that the experience he gathered would propel him to victory in a one-on-one mayoral race this fall. LPIA Executive committee member Casey Head of Des Moines hailed the candidate’s efforts stating that in the LP, “if you have a will to make change, you can do it.”
The Presidential race also featured prominently in the days activities, although no campaigns had a formal presence, unlike in 2011 when then-candidate Roger Gary appeared and Lee Wrights deployed his campaign manager as a surrogate. Governor Gary Johnson dominated the straw poll with 13 votes to 1 for publisher Sam Sloan and one for perennial LP vote-getter NOTA, an 87% randslide victory for the LP frontrunner.
No other candidates for 2012 were announced, other than Sicard’s mayoral race, though there are rumors that Libertarians may field two Congressional challengers. IFR will hold off on publicizing them until they officially enter, but suffice to say, they are two somewhat prominent refugees from the statist parties. With some money in the bank, the Libertarian Party will be in a position to make some incumbents sweat out their positions in the fall.
» posted on Friday, March 30th, 2012 at 12:53 pm by Editor
The Libertarian Party of Iowa will hold its annual convention this Saturday, May 31st at the Hilton Garden Inn just off I-80 in Johnston. The convention will convene at 9:00 with a break for lunch at noon and the business meeting to commence at 1 pm. The featured speaker this year will be Iowa City author Beth Cody. Cody has written pro-liberty editorials for the Iowa City Press Citizen and recently published her first novel, Looking Backward: 2162-2012 A View From a Future Libertarian Republic.
Attendees can expect to meet past and future Libertarian candidates and a possible video chat with presidential candidate Governor Gary Johnson may be in the works. The primary business to transact is the election of delegates to the Libertarian National Convention in Las Vegas this May. Party officers will also be selected to lead the LPIA through the next election cycle.
The party has requested that potential attendees are aware that a gun wrangler will be designated for those not wishing to leave their sidearms unsecured while using the restroom. A $25 donation is requested to cover lunch and other incidental costs.
Iowa Freedom Report will have a full convention report online this weekend and will give sporadic live-tweets from our site @IAFreedomReport.
» posted on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 at 7:10 pm by Editor
The Libertarian Party of Iowa held their annual convention in Johnston Saturday, a cheerful affair in which party leaders were buoyed by rising membership and vote totals in 2010 along with a determination to strengthen the party in the future. The convention also saw the first visit since 2004 by a Libertarian candidate for President (though Iowa native Bob Barr headed the ticket in 2008).
The convention kicked off with a guest speaker from the influential Republican group Strong America Now. Gregg Cummings, who also is a point man for the Iowa Grassroots Coalition, gave a presentation on Strong America Now’s proposal to use the Lean Six Sigma business process to eliminate government waste. Oddly, Cummings used an example wherein the process was used to ramp up production at a military contractor’s facility. Libertarians could likely think of another way to trim the Defense budget – by eliminating unnecessary programs in their entirety. Nonetheless, any program that would scale back the welfare/warfare state was welcomed by this group.
Special recognitions were give out to party candidates from the 2010 cycle. Dr. Eric Cooper ran the most high-profile Libertarian campaign for governor in recent memory. Dr. Cooper used his speech to appeal for more Libertarian candidates at all levels. Having a presence across the state would help the top of the ticket secure the 2% needed for major party status, he noted. Another statewide candidate was present, Jake Porter, whose 3% of the vote more than covered the difference in a tight race between Secretary of State Matt Schulz and former SecState Michael Mauro. “The Democrats are mad at me,” Porter noted with a smirk. Gary Sicard, who ran for Congress in CD-2 was the other candidate present. In his speech, Sicard noted that he did not have the electoral showing he hoped for, but was glad to see tea parties picking up the freedom message. Five other LP candidates were recognized by the chair but not present, including two from Johnson County who polled more than 20% in state legislative races.
After recognizing the state candidates, Libertarians gave the floor to their potential 2012 Presidential candidates. There are currently 4 known candidates actively seeking the LP nomination, while a fifth is likely to jump in the race after completing him tour of duty as an Army officer. Texas businessman Roger Gary addressed Iowa Libertarians while writer R. Lee Wrights was represented by his campaign co-managers. Gary spoke on the need for Libertarian campaigns to start early, expressing his displeasure with the past nominee Congressman Barr, who did not start his campaign until shortly before the national convention. He made ballot access a focus, expressing his willingness to help get on the ballot in Iowa but making it clear he would step aside and support the party nominee if he did not win his race. Iowa neighbor Julie Fox presented the case for Lee Wrights, who is building his campaign on the theme of “stop all wars.” Fox suggested that this message will win votes from outside the party, as all Americans are tiring of the wars. Campaign manager Thomas Hill added that he didn’t envy Iowans subjected to the campaigns of Republican caucus candidates. He noted that while Ron Paul and Gary Johnson have a good message, the Republican campaign will be rigged against them and only a Libertarian Party candidate can carry the banner for the movement. He also mentioned ballot access. Wrights’ campaign has pledged to donate 10% of its funds to state ballot access efforts. Hill proudly reported that the first such donation had recently help the LP of Arkansas secure its place on the 2012 ballot, a difficult task that had caused several previous LP contenders to be listed as “independent.”
After a lunch break, party chairman Ed Wright gave a talk on the condition of the party. He noted the increased media presence and vote totals for the candidates as well as a 50% increase in the number of registered Libertarians. Along with the good news, he presented the challenge to reach out to newly registered Libertarians to get more candidates and volunteers for the party.
Taking that challenge will be the party officials elected at the business meeting in the afternoon. Wright was re-elected as chair with Dr. Eric Cooper and Republic Now founder Brandon Echols as his deputies. Dr. Cooper pledged to use his position to recruit candidates and seek more media attention for the issue of ballot access. Echols said he would continue his focus of putting “boots on the ground” for the LP. With the new districts came a new Executive Committee. Gary Sicard moves to CD-1 with the shifting of the lines, while former State Senate candidate Dr. Chris Peters will take over as the CD-2 representative. Casey Head, who leads the Des Moines chapter of Liberty on the Rocks, will represent CD-3. Head recounted his experience working on a Republican congressional campaign and expressed his disappointment that a Libertarian challenger to Leonard Boswell did not emerge, a situation he promised to rectify for the coming election. Lynn Gentry is the new CD-4 rep.
The day concluded with the new executive committee meeting as Iowa Freedom Report conducted an interview with Mr. Gary. We’ll be publishing our full interview very soon as well as making a major announcement regarding future interviews with other Presidential candidates, so stay tuned. In case you missed it, a live tweet of the proceedings is available at our twitter page, @IAFreedomReport so please follow along.
» posted on Friday, May 6th, 2011 at 1:01 pm by Editor
Advocates for limited government have two excellent events to participate in tomorrow, Saturday May 7th.
Iowa’s version of the Worldwide Marijuana March will be held downtown beginning at 11:20 am. There will be a meeting at City Hall followed by the march itself culminating in the Iowa Hemp Freedom Rally on the steps of the Capitol. Many prominent members of the medical freedom community will speak including litigant Carl Olsen of Iowans for Medical Marijuana, advocate/patient Ray Lakers, and Gary Johnson 2012 staffer Jimmy Morrison of Iowa Patients.
For those interested in the Libertarian Party, they will have their annual convention at the Hilton Garden Inn in Johnston. Registration opens at 8am and business sessions begin at 9. Of course, as any freedom advocate will tell you – “TANSTAFL - There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” For this convention, $35 at the door will cover your lunch and rental of the hall. Iowa Freedom Report has learned that Presidential candidate Roger Gary will speak to the assembled delegates. Iowa Freedom Report will be on scene providing full coverage of the proceedings. Provided that the HGI has free wi-fi, we will also be doing our first live twitter coverage on @IAFreedomReport.