Posts Tagged ‘Tom Shaw’


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.


Republican Primary Preview

Iowa Freedom Report is back from our month-long Vegas hangover just in time for updates and endorsements in next week’s primary elections.  The success of the Ron Paul campaign in organizing the state unfortunately didn’t result in a caucus night victory, but it did leave in it wake a number of globally thinking-locally acting candidates seeking lower office.  Unlike in 2008 and 2010 when freedom candidates were restricted to deep-blue districts where mainstream Republicans offered little resistance, many of our people are poised to break through the glass ceiling and join Jason Schultz and Kent Sorenson in the Iowa Legislature’s de facto liberty caucus.  Here’s a look at some of those candidates with contested races on Tuesday’s ballot.  Consider them all to be “endorsed” unless otherwise noted.

Iowa Senate District 50 – Will Johnson

Will Johnson speaking with Ron Paul at the 2010 Campaign for Liberty Regional Conference. Photo courtesy of Will Johnson.

Johnson is a well known leader in the freedom movement from his 2010 Congressional campaign and his status as a former columnist at IFR.  He just has the sad misfortune of living in Democrat controlled Dubuque.  Our sources inform us that in a rare turn of events, Johnson is actually the establishment favorite in this primary as Senate Republicans see him as the only chance to put this seat in play.  Johnson for his part is avoiding typical Republican talking points like “Democrats are bad” and “Obama is a secret Muslim communist atheist!!!” to focus on nonpartisan issues like the proliferation of red light cameras in Dubuque.  His efforts on civil liberties have earned him a reputation around town as “the camera man” and his elevated profile and crossover appeal should carry the day over traditional Republican John Hulsizer Jr.  The one drawback is that Johnson’s fundraising has been far less than you’d expect from someone with his resume.  Although Hulsizer didn’t raise enough to require a filing (ie, less than $750), we’ll need to get Johnson some help before the fall.

Iowa House District 1 – Kevin Wolfswinkel

Kevin Wolfswinkel receving a donation from Iowa Freedom Fund treasurer Steve Hoodjer in April.

House District 1 in the far northwest corner of Iowa represents an unique pick-up opportunity brought about by redistricting.  Freshman Representative Jeff Smith represented the old district 1 but lost half his former constituents to the new lines.  Smith generally towed the party line in his only term, including siding with the National Rifle Association when that august organization launched an all-out effort to derail proposed “Constitutional-carry” firearms legislation.  Wolfswinkel has a background working with Campaign for Liberty as well as a local effort aimed at tax reductions.  He was an easy choice to be a prime recipient of Iowa Freedom Fund’s support.  The money race has been about even in this one, and it could go either way on Tuesday so anyone with friends and family in that area, call in your favors now.

Iowa House District 2 – Josh Davenport

Spencer Pastor Josh Davenport first came to our attention last fall when he came out for Dr. Paul around the time of Paul’s visit to Clay County.  At the time Davenport had slowly moved to liberty going through the nanny statism of the Huckabee campaign to the tea party and finally arriving in the liberty camp.  Davenport is a late entry into the House race, but don’t underestimate his chances with a background as minister and a former co-chair of the county GOP.  The establishment candidate is former legislative staffer Megan Hess, who had a head start and backing from the NRA (which you’d have to assume means she’ll oppose Constitutional-carry) but Davenport has done well with fundraising and has lined up the freedom movement behind him, including newly elected State Central Committee member Kris Theissen.  The district leans Republican, but the Democrats have a strong candidate, so Davenport will need our help if he gets through on Tuesday.

Iowa House District 10 – Tom Shaw

Representative Shaw is the rare incumbent legislator who didn’t support Ron Paul when he had the chance but who’s record in office is so exemplary that he still warrants our full support.  Shaw, a Republican In Name Only in the truest sense of the term, complied an impressive pro-liberty record in his first term voting along with freedom legislators Kim Pearson and Glenn Massie.  While Pearson and Massie unfortunately took themselves out by declining to seek re-election, the Republican establishment is looking to help Shaw go the same way.  They’ve put up former U of I student body president Maison Bleam in the primary.  Bleam is the scion of a prominent Republican family in Calhoun county which is new to Shaw’s district and is a former staffer to Congressman Steve King.  Shaw should be favored, but if you live in Humboldt, Pochantas, Calhoun, or Webster counties don’t take it for granted, make sure you vote for Shaw on Tuesday.

Iowa House District 36 – Tony Seliquini

This race has flown far under the radar despite its location in Polk County, perhaps because the district leans Democrat.  Still, freedom candidate Tony Seliquini is in the midst of a contested 3-way primary for the chance to be an underdog in November.  Seliquini is an Army vet with a wide range of civilian experience and campaign experience volunteering for Dr. Paul and numerous local candidates.  He faces Jeff Ibbotson, who is employed in Homeland Security which alone should give any one pause and Larry Steele who didn’t raise enough money to trigger the filing requirement with the state.  Seliquini is looking for last-minute volunteers to phone bank over the weekend, so if you have some free time, contact him at the website listed above.

Iowa House District 37 – Matt DeVries

As an somewhat well-known candidate in a brand new, heavily Republican district, Matt DeVries represents the best chance to put a pro-freedom candidate in the state legislature in 2012.  A rising star in our movement, DeVries’s political career got off to a rocky start in 2011 when he lost a convention race to run in the special Senate election that was eventually won by Jack Whitver.  Still, DeVries’s exposure in that race may give him an advantage in name recognition, an advantage desperately needed as 5 big-government Republicans saw the same opportunity we did leading to a crowded primary.  If no candidate gets 35% on Tuesday, the race will go to convention where freedom voters should have an advantage as Romney and Santorum supporters largely boycotted the caucus-to-convention process for reasons that have never been fully explained.  DeVries has put an emphasis on reenforcing government marriage (for straights only) and normally anyone who considers teh gayz as the major threat facing our state demonstrates that they lack the critical thinking necessary in an office, Murray Rothbard did say that everyone gets on deviation, so DeVries has our full support.

Iowa House District 39 – Jake Highfill

The HD-39 primary has been an interesting one to say the least.  Iowa City blogger John Deeth calls it the WTF primary and we’d be hard pressed to give the Erik Helland-Jake Highfill match-up a better moniker.  In his two terms in the House, Helland is still best known for his drunk driving convention.  Despite lots of money and lots of establishment support, this Kerry Burt Republican seems ripe for a primary challenge in a safe Republican seat.  Stepping up to the challenge is Ron Paul Republican Jake Highfill, a recent U of I grad.  Unfortunately for both him and the movement, Highfill has stirred up unneeded controversy with both accusations against his opponent and Obama-style “evolution” on key issues.  First, in a he-said/he-said debate Highfill claimed Helland offered him a job to get him out of the primary.  Helland counters that he was only steering Highfill to a more suitable entry into politics, not making any offers himself.  Then Highfill reversed course on his previous public stands for liberty.  In a January interview for a story on Paul’s young supporters, Highfill took the proper stand saying he would never vote for Mitt Romney.  Then last week he told The Iowa Republican, neoconservativism’s blog of record that he’d be the “first in line” to cast his vote for the Massachusetts fascist.  Highfill also seems to have backed off his previous support for extending government marriage to same-sex couples.  Given an excellent opportunity to educate the public about freedom of contract or to help the GOP reverse their losses among the creative class, Highfill took the easy way out and told TIR he’d support only straight government marriage.  Sadly, Highfill sounds like a young man who’s heart is in the right place but whose pro-liberty ideology is not fully set.  He’s worth a vote over Helland but it would be hard to place a lot of hope in his chances.  With all the questions marks surrounding Highfill’s true beliefs, call this one a “recommends”.

We’ve heard stirrings about other potentially good candidates, but haven’t had the chance to vet them in light of their past involvement in the movement (any one can say good things in an election race, and everyone does, we look at actions), so pass along any others you know who are worthy of our support in either the comments or tweet to us @IAFreedomReport.  We’ll be spending more time on legislative candidates between now and November, including some good ones who aren’t contested next week.

Remember, get out and vote Tuesday!  (You can change your registration at the polls if needed and change back on Wednesday.)


Endorsements: State Legislative Candidates

With Election Day closing in on us, Iowa Freedom Report brings you our take on who we believe the big-tent, transpartisan, top-half freedom movement should be proud to get out and support on Tuesday.  For our movement, the state legislature may be the most important battleground this year.  Terry Branstad’s imminent election presents us with a unique opportunity.  While we at Iowa Freedom Report have been quick to criticize for his government-expanding, book-cooking terms in office it is not entirely fair to label him hostile to the ideology of limited government.  It would be more accurate to say that Mr. Branstad is devoid of ideology.  He actually does nothing, aside from lord his position over Iowans and pay off some cronies.  Despite being the longest serving governor in the state’s history, Branstad vetoed only 4 bills.  Since he just signs whatever bill is put in front of him – liberal bill, conservative bill, Republican bill, Democrat bill, tax hike, tax cut, tax freeze, tax explosion – its not important who’s writing the bills and what’s in them.  Here are the ones we trust.  As always, do your due diligence and vote your conscience:


James Mills, Republican, District 7 – Iowa Freedom Report supports James Mills.  James’ told his entire district through the Mason City newspaper that Ron Paul is the politician he most admires.  Then Paul returned the favor with a donation and campaign appearance.  With Mills in office, expect the two to have pretty similar voting records.  Mills has experience in education, both as a government school teacher and private tutoring company owner, so he knows you can’t fix Iowa’s schools just by throwing money at them.  Join Dr. Paul and support James.

Dr. Christopher Peters, Libertarian, District 15 – Iowa Freedom Report supports Dr. Christopher Peters.  The “People’s Republic of Johnson County” has long been a one-party fiefdom.  With an absentee GOP and a strong ticket up and down the ballot, Dr. Peters is working to spread the freedom message and build up the Libertarian Party as the only viable alternative to Democrat rule.  Peters tells it like it is, pointing out that government has grown while population has plateaud regardless of which duopoly party runs Des Moines.  Peters’ “Promises and Goals” are something we should demand all our legislators adopt.  Stand up for liberty and stand with the good doctor on Tuesday.

Tim Gartin, Republican, District 23 – Iowa Freedom Report recommends Tim Gartin.  Regrettably, this site didn’t take the time to introduce you to Mr. Gartin, but Ron Paul knows him and supports him.  Around here, any friend of Dr. Paul is friend of ours.  Check him out and give him your vote.

Kent Sorenson, Republican, District 37 – Iowa Freedom Report supports Kent Sorenson.  Sorenson was the first member of the freedom movement to break into public office when he unseated a sitting Democrat legislature during the Obama landslide of 2008, not that the GOP gave him any help.  Now he’s the party’s rising star because they are realizing that freedom is popular.  Sorenson has authored or co-sponsored the best bills to come out of Des Moines on gun rights, the 10th Amendment, and fiscal responsibility.  He’s got a good shot to move up to the Senate where he’ll be an even bigger voice for freedom.


Tom Shaw, Republican, District 8 – Iowa Freedom Report endorses Tom Shaw.  We recommended Shaw in his June primary, but had lingering concerns about the motives of his party switch from independent to Republican.  We’ve since met with Shaw and clarified that his loyalty is to the Constitution and his party affiliation only a vehicle.  We’re now convinced that Shaw will be an important ally and needed voice for “less government, not more” at the Capitol.  He has the endorsement of Dr. Drew Ivers and Iowa Gun Owners, he deserves yours too.

Dustin Krutsinger, Libertarian, District 30 – Iowa Freedom Report supports Dustin Krutsinger.  University of Iowa med student Dustin Krutsinger is one of the bright young stars in the freedom movement in Iowa.  A transpartisan activist, Krutsinger caucused for Ron Paul before crossing over to join an impressive Libertarian ticket in Johnson County.  A veteran of Campaign for Liberty and the founder of a spin-off group for medical students, Krutsinger understands well the ideas of liberty and how to apply them to fight for prosperity and sovereignty for Iowa’s people.  A stand-up guy to boot, Dustin plans to put his medical training to work as a volunteer medical missionary when his hitch in the Legislature is up.  Krutsigner is truly one of us and deserves all the support we can afford to send him.

Kim Pearson, Republican, District 42 – Iowa Freedom Report endorses Kim Pearson.  Ms. Pearson told an interviewer earlier this month, “I am not part of the political establishment.” As James Dobson might say, “sounds like my kind of [wo]man.” As if to prove her point, one of the Republican establishment’s leading institutions, Ed Failor’s Iowans for Tax Relief is pouring money into the coffers of her Democrat opponent.  Pearson is symbolic of the tea partiers who’ve joined our cause in the last two years and she’ll be a regular vote for our camp.  Ron Paul endorses Kim Pearson and so do we.

Glen Massie, Republican, District 74 – Iowa Freedom Report supports Glen Massie.  With Kent Sorenson moving up to the State Senate, his seat fell open and even the Republican Party looked to the freedom movement to fill it.  After Kent Sorenson lead our movement in taking this seat out of the Democrats’ hands in 2008, Bush/McCain Republicans who considered it unwinnable simply got out of the way and less us run our own candidate without even a primary challenge.  Glen Massie, recently of the Iowa Campaign for Liberty board of directors has stepped up and run a tough race.  The Democrat Party has thrown a lot of money against him, but Massie’s blue-collar style fits this working class district in the Des Moines exurbs.  Along the way, he is converting not just his neighbors to the idea of “less government, not more;” but is looked to for leadership by the local tea parties as well.  Massie is our man, he’s running for “our” seat, and our movement needs to back him fully.


If we’re leaving out any one who is deserving of the freedom movement’s help and support, let us know at editor [at] by the end of the weekend.  We’ve tried to present to you those who’ve caught our attention, as always check local listings.

And just for the record, we are staying out of the Steenhoek-Pauly race in HD-46 as we feel there are credible reasons people in our “tent” could support either.  We recommend you use your best judgment and as Dr. Drew Ivers says, “vote for the least amount of government that you can.”


Drew Ivers Endorses Tom Shaw, Chad Steenhoek

Dr. Drew Ivers, the former state chair of Ron Paul’s 2008 Iowa caucus campaign and current chair of the Iowa chapter of Dr. Paul’s Campaign for Liberty has endorsed two more State House candidates in an email to his personal contacts.  Ivers, who popularized the slogan “less government, not more” to summarize the big tent freedom movement encouraged his followers to help elect what he calls “true conservative” candidates Tom Shaw in HD-8 and Chad Steenhoek in HD-46.

Regarding Shaw, Ivers said:

Tom is Chief of Police in the small rural Iowa town of Laurens, and is…one of us…an honest Iowan who wants a government that protects our rights, not dictate our lives. He will fight to eliminate government at all levels and deserves your support.

Shaw is popular with the tea party movement statewide and was one of only a few candidates recommended by Iowa Freedom Report in June’s Republican primary.  After winning the primary, Shaw (who is a regular reader) ensured Iowa Freedom Report that his switch from an independent campaign to the Republican primary was purely pragmatic and not an endorsement of the big-government policies carried out the GOP over the past decade.  Shaw is running for a House seat left open by the retirement of a long-serving conservative Democrat and stands a good chance at a pick-up in his northwest Iowa district.

About Steenhoek, Ivers had this to say:

Chad too is a first time candidate who just wants his country back. Like Tom, he is a solid patriot who fully understands the concepts of limited government and is committed to dismantling excessive government in Iowa. Chad’s sincerity and ability to articulate conservative principles makes him a great candidate.

Steenhoek is a small business owner and proponent of organic farming.  He is also popular with the social conservative wing of his party.  With the endorsement of Ivers, Steenhoek could at the forefront of a continuing alliance between the Christian right and the freedom movement within the GOP.  Steenhoek is also endorsed by Mike Huckabee, although according to his website, his economic policy could not possibly differ any more from Tax Hike Mike’s.  “Reducing the Size of Government” and “Reducing the Tax Rate” are first and foremost on Mr. Steenhoek’s agenda.

Steenhoek faces more of an uphill battle in his Ames-centered district.  In 2008, the current Libertarian nominee for governor, Dr. Eric Cooper received 20% of the vote in a two-way race with the Republicans not even bothering to challenge Democrat incumbent  Lisa Heddens.  Ivers’s endorsement should help Steenhoek win over freedom voters as he also faces a challenge from Libertarian candidate Tyler Pauly, an Iowa State University student.

While Dr. Ivers, as a member of the state Republican Party Central Committee is technically obligated to support all Republican candidates, he is clearly interested in winning a bloc of seats within a potential Republican majority for the freedom movement and its allies.  For this, he has come under fire from various partisans who do not want their grand old party hijacked to promote an agenda of reducing the size and cost of government.  On this point, the win-at-all-costs hacks should re-evaluate and recognize the value of a freedom activist such as Dr. Ivers recruiting voters and donors to Republicans candidates from a group of  people otherwise turned off by the deficit-expanding, war-mongering of the national Republican Party.  As this site has mentioned before, at the current moment in history, the goals of the freedom movement and the Republican Party do not contradict one another.  Republicans need a majority to beat the Democrats and the movement needs to increase its representation from 1 to more than 1 in order to drive the debate on issues.

Ivers made his endorsements as a private citizen and not as the leader of Campaign for Liberty, which is not permitted by law to endorse candidates.


Freedom Candidates Compete to be “Iowa Idol”

Kent Sorenson is already idolized by Iowa’s libertarians, constitutionalists, and conservatives and now he could officially become the “Iowa Republican Idol.”  Congressman Tom Latham from the 4th District is hosting a fundraiser through his leadership PAC For America’s Republican Majority (FARM PAC) that allows Iowans to vote for their favorite State House and State Senate candidates.  The winner from each house of the legislature will receive a $5,000 donation from the PAC.

Sorenson and up-and-coming freedom candidate James Mills are among the Senate candidates competing.  On the House side, Iowa Freedom Report recommended candidate Tom Shaw is an option, as is Campaign for Liberty leader Glenn Massie, and member Jason Schulz.  Unfortunately, you’re only allowed to vote for one member of each house, so choose wisely liberty lovers.

After you’ve voted for your favorite Senate and House candidates, a third question lets you pick which potential Presidential candidate you like for the 2012 caucuses.  Congressman Ron Paul and Governor Gary Johnson are both choices.  It seems that there’s no money attached to the Presidential question, that it is just a straw poll.  Like any straw poll, a good showing for the good doctor and/or the good governor would show Latham (or at least his staff) that the hearts of Iowa Republicans are after less government, not more.

The contest is open until August 31, so you have some time to think it over.  There is no cost to participate, except that you have to give Mr. Latham your email address.  I know that some people don’t like signing up for lists because of all the political spam, but many new email servers, including gMail have a new feature called a “delete” button that negates that concern.  Make sure to vote for Iowa’s Republican Idol here.


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.


Iowa Gun Owners Highlight Key Races

Iowa Gun Owners sent the following email to their members today.  While they stopped short of endorsing, they did wish to highlight several races where there was either a particularly good or particularly bad candidate, or both in the same primary.  Their list of pro-gun candidates includes Iowa Freedom Report endorsed candidate Dr. David Hartsuch and recommended candidate Tom Shaw.
June 8 – Primary Election Day in Iowa

As June 8 approaches many of you have been asking us where the candidates stand on the 2nd Amendment here in Iowa.

While we don’t have space to cover every race, we are going to highlight some of the candidates and races that feature some of the best pro-gun candidates that we have dealt with. There are certainly other races going on that feature pro-gun candidates – we just don’t have space to feature them all here.

Gubernatorial Race:

All three remaining Republican candidates in this race were sent a survey. We will list them below in alphabetical order by last name.

Governor Branstad has not replied to our survey at all.

Rod Roberts responded to the survey with 100% pro-gun answers.

Bob Vander Plaats responded to the survey with 100% pro-gun answers.

This means that Roberts and Vander Plaats have both pledged to sign the REAL Right-to-Carry bill, if elected, when it comes to their desk.

They have also pledged to support the other bill that Iowa Gun Owners had introduced this year: a bill to repeal Iowa’s permit to acquire. This is the law that makes law abiding Iowans get government permission before they can exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

Both have also promised to support the Castle Doctrine bill, if elected, that allows you to defend yourself and your family in your home if attacked. Current law requires you to retreat if possible – from your own home.

We have heard nothing from the Branstad campaign. It is concerning when a candidate will not complete a survey. A candidate can say what they want, but without a signed survey you and I don’t really know where they stand on the issues.

Call Branstad’s campaign and ask that Governor Branstad complete the Iowa Gun Owners 2010 Gun Rights Candidate Survey so that all Iowans know where he stands on this important issue.

The number to call is 515-276-2266.

Senate District 41 (areas of Bettendorf/Davenport)

The two candidates in this race are Senator David Hartsuch and Roby Smith – and the differences here are stark.

Iowa Gun Owners members will recognize Senator Hartsuch’s name as our bill sponsor in the Iowa Senate for the REAL Right-to-Carry bill.

Senator Hartsuch answered our survey with a 100% pro-gun reply. He reiterated his willingness to lead the fight in the Iowa Senate for gun rights.

Roby Smith has refused to answer the survey. But more than that, after being asked to complete the survey by voters in the district, Smith still refuses to answer the survey.

Further, Smith has recently publicly attacked Senator Hartsuch over his fierce support of gun rights.

IGO members are encouraged to call Smith at 563-386-0179 and demand that he complete the survey and support our 2nd Amendment rights.

House District 42 (area around Altoona)

The two candidates in this primary are Kim Pearson and Aaron Warner.

Kim Pearson returned the Gun Rights Candidate Survey immediately with a 100% pro-gun reply. Kim is one of the new generation of conservative Republicans who takes the Constitution seriously and, as such, she is a very strong pro-gun candidate.

Her opponent is Aaron Warner. He has refused to complete the Iowa Gun Owners survey. After the voters from District 42 contacted him to ask him why he refused the survey Warner contacted us to complain…but still will not complete the survey.

We have no reason to believe that Warner will be a friend to gun owners at this time.

Call Warner and urge him to complete the Gun Rights Candidate Survey today at 515-867-6677.

House District 8 (Algona, Humboldt, Laurens etc)

The differences in this race are also very stark.

Tom Shaw is an Iowa Gun Owners member who is a staunch supporter of the REAL Right-to-Carry bill. Naturally, Tom signed the survey 100% and promised to sponsor the REAL Right-to-Carry bill, the bill to repeal Iowa’s permit to acquire handguns, the Castle Doctrine bill, and more. In other words, he’s promised to lead on the gun rights issue.

His opponent is Stephen Richards. Richards refused to sign the survey on three separate occasions. When we notified voters in District 8 about this they began to contact him. Richards then contacted us and said that he was out of town on vacation for several weeks and missed the survey.

This may be true but, but unfortunately Richards confirmed via email that he would not have answered pro-gun on many of the questions on the survey!!

Further, Richards is of the belief that many classes of people should not have access to any semi-automatic firearms (even .22 rifles) and has made troubling comments about so called ‘assault weapons’ in the past.

IGO members are encouraged to contact Richards and demand that he retract his anti-gun statements and sign the Gun Rights Candidate Survey today!

Richards can be reached by calling 515-320-1889.

House District 2

This is a 3-way primary race between Ryan Beardshear, Cate Bryan, and Bobby Riordan.

Ryan Beardshear has responded to the survey with 100% pro-gun answers. Even more, like the candidates above, he promised to lead the fight for gun rights by agreeing to sponsor our gun bills if elected. Ryan was quick to reply to the survey and is strongly pro-gun.

Cate Bryan also replied in the affirmative on the candidate survey but did not agree to sponsor our legislation. We thank her for her positive answers but note the difference between her answers and those of Beardshear.

Bobby Riordan refused to answer the survey at all. Even after being contacted about this refusal by voters in the district Riordan still has not completed a survey.

This is not good. As said above regarding Branstad, a candidate can say anything they want but if they won’t put those views on paper it is very troubling. A candidate who refuses a survey will find it easier to cave in to the pressure from the anti-gunners in the Capitol if elected.

IGO members are encouraged to call Riordan and urge him to complete the survey. He can be reached at 712-389-0700.

There are many other exciting races that will be decided on Tuesday. We simply can’t cover them all in this alert. The candidates above are some of the best and worst that Iowa Gun Owners has dealt with in the last few months. Many candidates have heard all about the battle for gun rights that has been going on here for the last two legislative sessions – and they now are rising up to lead on these issues.


Endorsements: State Legislative Races

I have to confess that I haven’t been following the state legislative races around the state as closely as I should have been.  Part of this has been focus on the governor race and Will Johnson’s freedom campaign in the 1st and part of it has been a focus on making a living.  But there are some state legislative races that have been brought to our attention that the freedom movement should take a look at.  Remember that Iowa Freedom Report issues three levels of endorsement.  When we support a candidate, it means this is our guy and we need to back him to the hilt.  When we endorse, it means that candidate has earned the votes of freedom supporters.  When we recommend, its like saying “hey, this guy might be worth looking in to.”  So without further ado, our endorsements in tomorrow’s state legislative races.

House District 18 – Iowa Freedom Report endorses Darin Rulapaugh.  Rulapaugh is a former Army Ranger who still values his oath to defend the Constitution.  He is running on a platform of life, liberty, and property and can be expected to uphold these values in Des Moines.  He is an advocate for the freedom movement and supporter of Will Johnson.  His opponents seem to be nice people, but there is no indication they would be any thing other than run of the mill R’s.  You can trust Darin with your vote.

Senate District 41 – Iowa Freedom Report endorses Dr. David Hartsuch.  In the Senate, Hartsuch has carried the ball on Iowa Gun Owner’s Real Right to Carry bill and led the effort to defund abortion.  He first entered the Senate in 2006 by upsetting a liberal incumbent and party leader.  He works very closely with the local freedom movement, even when we don’t agree on all the issues.  He wants to move the Republican party to the right, we want to move it to the top, together we can meet in the top right and we’ll all be very happy and very free.  There’s not many incumbents we should waste our e-ink on supporting, but Dr. Hartsuch is one.  Quad Cities voters, when you go to cast your ballot for Will Johnson, make sure to mark off Hartsuch as well.

House District 8 – Iowa Freedom Report recommends Tom Shaw.  We’ve heard a lot of good things about this Shaw guy, but simply haven’t spent time with him in person to see if he passes the smell test so this will stay a “recommends” instead of an “endorses.”  If you live in the district, verify before you vote.  Shaw initially made waves by leaving the Republican Party to run as an independent.  He was lured back to the duopoly by party leaders and we’re not sure what the angle is, if he’s just being pragmatic or has sold out.  He is a member of Iowa Gun Owners, so that’s a good sign.  He could be one of the best the Republicans have offered up if he checks out, we simply haven’t done the homework.

Also, don’t forget about our previously endorsed candidates:  Will Johnson for Congress in District 1 and Dr. James Heavens for Treasurer.

Finally, on a personal note, if you happen to live in Butler County, throw my friend Tim Backer a vote for Recorder.  There’s no life or death, freedom or tyranny issues at stake in the local courthouse, but I think Tim has some good ideas and will do the job well.