Skip to comments.Iowa Republicans gird for fall campaign
Posted on 06/15/2014 7:22:38 PM PDT by iowamark
Des Moines Iowa Republicans forged a unified plan of attack Saturday to seize opportunities in Iowas fall election and begin assessing their choices looking ahead to the first-in-the-nation presidential nominating process in 2016.
Nearly 1,450 delegates to the Iowa GOP state convention heard rallying cries from U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst, Gov. Terry Branstad and three presidential hopefuls before finalizing a conservative platform and nominating Kim Reynolds as lieutenant governor, Sam Clovis as their state treasurer candidate and Adam Gregg for his attorney general bid.
I think were going to have a very strong and unified party and the best Republican ticket weve ever had, said Branstad, who will top the GOP ticket in the Nov. 4 election. I think its going to be a great year.
Ernst, a National Guard officer and state senator fresh from a convincing victory in a five-way primary race, set her political sights on her fall opponent, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo, calling hima rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and the loudest cheerleader for Obamacare.
Ernst told the cheering crowd that Democrats have placed their hopes on a liberal trial lawyer who attacks farmers and now that trial lawyer is running against a farm girl. She said Washington is full of liberals like Braley who think government is the solution to every problem and she will provide a clear alternative to Iowa voters.
In response, Braley campaign manager Sarah Benzing agreed that voters will face a clear choice this November, saying Ernsts convention speech embraced the same right-wing obstructionism that won her the Republican primary. If elected to the U.S. Senate, Benzing said Ernst would side with her out-of-state billionaire backers to repeal the federal minimum wage, privatize Social Security, and transform Medicare as we know it.
Branstad predicted 2014 will be the year of the Republican women and the year of the veteran with Ernst and congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowas GOP slate.
Its time that we stop bickering among ourselves and go after the real enemy, said Iowa GOP national committeewoman Tamara Scott in calling for party unity. This country is ours and were taking it back.
Convention delegate Barbara Hovland, GOP co-chair in Cerro Gordo County, said she applauded the primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican who is the second most-powerful U.S. House leader, saying it sent a message that Washington needs to hear.
We need more candidates that are going to actually get to Washington and not change the way that they ran their campaign and that theyre going to do what they say. Weve had too many candidates that get there and we all know what happens, she said.
In my view, were all conservative GOP and I think we all want the same solutions in the long run, Hovland added. There shouldnt be any sort of division.
Much of the mornings convention activity was devoted to speeches from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum three GOP presidential prospects -- who fired up delegates with criticism of President Obama, possible 2016 rival Hillary Clinton and dysfunctional big-government policies pushed by liberal Democrats.
Santorum, who won the 2012 Iowa caucuses but lost the GOP presidential nomination to Mitt Romney, said Republicans need to convey a blue-collar message that values workers as much as business and corporations the topic of a book he touted and signed copies of after his convention speech.
The people of America, the workers of America know that President Obamas policies have let them down, they just have to know that we care, Santorum told the assemblage.
Jindal said a rebellion is brewing among the electorate who want a hostile takeover of Washington D.C.
The Louisiana governor said he and his family were products of the American dream but he expressed concern that Obama policies are threatening to redefine that promise. He said the message from the Obama administration is class envy and a focus on equality of outcomes instead of equality of opportunity despite the fact that the president was the benefactor of that opportunity in 2008 and 2012.
Jindal touted charter schools, parental choices and educational gains in his state while decrying a silent war against religious freedom, telling the cheering crowd the United States of America did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created the United States of America.
Paul said Republicans have to be a bigger, better, bolder party without diluting its message of less government, less taxes and personal freedom. But he said Republicans cant be the dominant party again by pushing the same old, same old, noting that approach resulted in Obama winning Iowa in each of the last two presidential elections.
Steve Scheffler, one of Iowas GOP national committeeman who serves on the partys rules panel, told the delegates that it has been set in stone that Iowa will be the lead-off state in the 2016 presidential selection process.
As Biden once advised: Gird Your Loins! To this day, nobody knows why he used such a cryptic phrase.