Ron Paul 2012?

Texas Congressman Ron Paul has agreed to do one of The Family Leader’s three-stop tours of the state.  Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty at this hour is in Pella on stage two of the three-stage tour. Read the news release below outlining Paul’s schedule.

TEXAS CONGRESSMAN RON PAUL ACCEPTS The FAMiLY LEADER’s INVITATION TO JOIN THE PRESIDENTIAL LECTURE SERIES IN MARCH
Iowans Taking a Leading Role in Educational Process

Pleasant Hill, IA – The FAMiLY LEADER received confirmation Friday that Congressman Ron Paul will be the featured speaker at their Presidential Lecture Series on March 7.  Congressman Paul is scheduled to deliver his pro-family lecture and meet with members of Leadership Roundtables at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Pella Christian High School in Pella, and the University of Iowa in Iowa City.  Congressman Paul will follow former Governor Tim Pawlenty, who is kicking off this educational series today, February 7th.     

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The GOP governors tour hits Iowa (AUDIO)

I am sitting in the Jasper County Republican Party’s headquarters in “rootin’ tooin’ Newton” according to the gentleman who followed me and two other reporters in the front door.  The JCHQ is located on the square, to the south of the county courthouse, in a a store front that used to be a furniture store in a former life.  This is the spot where Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (who wants to be governor again) are scheduled to be in half an hour for a get-out-the-vote rally.  (*Pawlenty will be in Iowa later this week.)

It’s a small room.  There’s a woman with a small child in the corner and several “seasoned citizens” are sitting in a little anteroom on chairs while about two dozen people mill about.  Branstad has just entered the room at 10:35 and a woman approached him for autographs on a few items.  At 10:41 a.m. Branstad races to the back of the building to greet Barbour. 

It’s unclear whether I’ll have enough power to keep the laptop going through the rally.  I think we’ve overloaded the circuit with five laptops along press row.  Barbour just walked into the room to shake hands.  In an exchange with former RNC Committeeman Steve Roberts of Des Moines, Barbour called Roberts an “old friend.”

Roberts, who was on the RNC when Barbour was its chair, told Barbour he wanted to talk with him about 2012.

“Let’s get through this election first.  This is the election that counts,” Barbour said, adding he’s got the “fcot on the accelerator” for 11.2.10.

UPDATE:  The power strip was not providing power, my laptop battery lasted about 5 minutes on its own, so I couldn’t live blog the event. You can listen to a 20 minute mp3 of Barbour’s speech, then Jindal’s speech here: BarbourJindal

The governors are coming

You call a group of lions a pride and a group of geese a flock. Elephants in a group are called a herd, but sometimes the phrase a “parade of elephants” is used if the elephants are moving.   A group of Republican governors are coming to Iowa.  I’ll let you assign a name to the group.  The details of their travel appearances in Iowa are below, as outlined in a news release from the campaign of former Governor Terry Branstad, the Republican who wants to be governor again.

Govs. Romney, Barbour, Jindal, McDonnell and Pawlenty to join Republican ticket at events in final week of the campaign

(URBANDALE) – Former Gov. Terry Branstad and lieutenant governor nominee Sen. Kim Reynolds will launch a 7-day, 36-city “ROAD TO VICTORY’ tour beginning this Tuesday, October 26, 2010.

Joining them at various stops will be former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour,  Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

 The following events are open to public and press.  The Branstad campaign encourages attendees to RSVP by calling 515-276-2266.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10 a.m.          Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds Linn county “Road to Victory” rally with Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. nominee Kim Reynolds 
                        The Hotel at Kirkwood
                        7725 Kirkwood Blvd. S.W.
                        Cedar Rapids, IA

Noon             Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds Dubuque county “Road to Victory” rally with Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. nominee Kim Reynolds 
                        Grand River Center
                        500 Bell St.
                        Dubuque, IA

5:30 p.m.      Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. nominee Kim Reynolds attend the Scott County GOP Reagan Dinner featuring Gov. Mitt Romney
                        Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center
                        2021 State St.
                        Bettendorf, IA

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

11 a.m.          Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell hold Jasper county “Road to Victory” rally with Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. nominee Kim Reynolds
                        Jasper County Republican Headquarters
                        107 1st Ave. W.
                        Newton, IA

Analyzing Pawlenty’s visit

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has been in Iowa for over 30 hours by now, helping Iowa Republicans raise money.  The strategic decisions illustrated by the trip, thus far, are interesting for a potential presidential candidate.  (Pawlenty, of course, did not say he’s running for president.  That’s a decision he’ll make “early next year.”) 

First, there’s Pawlenty’s list of campaign fundraisers — just who he’s helping and just where they live.  On Saturday morning Pawlenty appeared in Dubuque at a fundraiser for State Representative Steve Lukan.  Lukan is an assistant leader in the Iowa House of Representatives and, as such, is expected to send other GOP candidates for the House campaign cash — cash he now has more of, thanks to Pawlenty.

On Saturday evening, Pawlenty helped Kraig Paulsen, the leader of  Republicans in the Iowa House, raise money at a fundraiser in Cedar Rapids.  And today Pawlenty helped State Rep. Jeff Kaufmann out by headlining a fundraiser in West Liberty.  Kaufmann, like Lukan (the guy in Dubuque), is an assistant leader and needs to spread some cash to other House Republicans.

The Iowa legislature is made up of a 100-member House and a 50-member Senate.  Many observers believe Republicans have a shot at winning enough seats in the House this November to take majority control away from Democrats.  Those three fundraisers Pawlenty attended/headlined give that cause a needed boost, as the Republicans are behind this cycle in raising campaign cash for House races, as compared to 2008.

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List of potential 2012 candidates who’ve visited Iowa

Here a list I’ve compiled of Republicans who’ve visited Iowa since November 4, 2008 (Election Day) and are/have been considered potential presidential candidates in 2012.

Governors

Lawmakers

  • Congresswoman Michele Bachmann: appearance via video at Iowa Tea Party State Convention in November, 2009;  keynoter for Congressman King fundraiser in April, 2010. 
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: American Future Fund event in Davenport, Iowa House GOP fundraiser in Cedar Rapids, Polk County GOP fundraiser in May, 2010; candidate training, fundraiser for congressional candidate Brad Zaun, July, 2010.
  • Congressman Ron Paul: campaign fundraiser for state senate candidate Kent Sorenson in November, 2009; keynoter for Campaign for Liberty conference in Des Moines in May, 2010; keynoter for Iowa GOP convention-eve event in June, 2010.
  • Congressman Mike Pence, Iowa GOP fundraiser in Linn County,  Congressman King fundraiser in July, 2009; appearance via satellite at an Iowa GOP rally in Iowa City in April, 2010.
  • Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum: American Future Fund speech to Dubuque, appearances in central Iowa in October, 2009; keynoter for Iowa Christian Alliance event in March, 2010; keynoter for luncheon at Iowa Republican Party state convention in June, 2010.

Additional notes

Nevada Senator John Ensign was in Iowa early in June of 2009 to deliver an American Future Fund lecture. Lots of stories were written at that time, describing Ensign as a potential 2012 candidate.  It was right before the story broke about Ensign’s affair, ending such speculation.

On the Democratic side of the ledger, President Obama has visited Iowa three times since November 4, 2008.  Obama was in Newton on Earth Day, 2009.  Obama was in Iowa City on March 25, 2010. Obama was in southeast Iowa/Ottumwa on April 27, 2010.

Vice President Biden was in Iowa, campaigning for Governor Chet Culver, on May 18, 2010.  (He mentioned the BFD.)  Biden was also the keynote speaker at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Day fundraiser in November, 2009.

Republican “possibles” at Sac County GOP gathering

UPDATE:  Read the first Radio Iowa story about the event.  Or, listen to all the speeches.

The time is 8:28 a.m.  I am sitting in a lovely building on the Sac County Fairgrounds, an original  "Chautauqua" building that was constructed in the early 1900s.  This is the site of a Sac County GOP gathering that will feature four men who are considering the idea of running for governor.

SacCity450

Two of them are farther along in the process.  Both Bob Vander Plaats and Christopher Rants, both of Sioux City, have formed "exploratory committees."  Representative Rod Roberts of Carroll and Senator Jerry Behn (pronounced "BAYN") are in the contemplative phase.  Vander Plaats and Rants were first on the scene here, followed by Roberts and Behn,  They've been chatting individually with the folks who have been paying $10 per ticket to attend this breakfast event. 

At 8:33 a.m., a prayer was offered and immediately following the prayer folks started lining up for breakfast. The building is huge, with rows of painted benches as well as picnic tables.  "The media" is stationed at a picnic table near the middle of the hall, near an electrical outlet. In about 20 minutes — at 9 o'clock — each of the four potential candidates will be given a chance to speak (individually) to the crowd.  This is the first time all four have appeared, together.

According to Senator Steve Kettering, a Republican from nearby Lake View, Sac County is a "Republican county."  He says the Sac County GOP had a "pretty good hook" in pledging to share proceeds from the event if one of the four would "formally announce" they're running for governor at this event. 

Kettering, though, considers the 2010 race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination wide open at this point, with "a couple of hands full" of other candidates considering jumping into the race.  "In my judgment, the gubernatorial race has not started," Kettering said moments ago.  "…It's way too early.  Obviously, there are still a couple of hands full of people still talking about it."

There are over 60 people seated now at picnic tables covered by red and blue tablecloths.  They're enjoying a breakfast of egg casserole, fruit and cinnamon rolls. Senator Kettering just showcased his own plate of food for the reporters here, pointing out the cinnamon roll as the "little bit of fun" on his plate.

At 9:07 a.m. the Pledge is recited by the crowd, followed by introduction of county elected officials in the audience as well as GOP precinct chairs.  The emcee is Brian Krause, pastor of the Faith Bible Church in Sac City.  According to Krause, there are about 12,000 residents in Sac County and both Krause and Kettering estimate Republicans comprise about 60 percent of registered voters, with about 40 percent registered as Democrats. 

Krause, by the way, assured the crowd he is not related to Bob Krause, the Democrat who has emerged to challenge Republican US Senator Chuck Grassley's reelection.  "There is nobody in my gene pool who is challenging Chuck Grassley," Brian Krause said.

Senator Behn is first and, after starting a stop watch to adhere to the 15 minute time limit each candidate has been given, he beings with a pledge: "I would spend your money carefully, just like I'll spend your time carefully."

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Barbour’s thoughts on Sanford

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour arrived in Iowa mid-afternoon.  He's the guest on this weekend's edition of Iowa Press on IPTV and the show was taped shortly after his plane touched down.  The first series of questions were about South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.  Barbour also stiff-armed questions about whether he would run for president in 2012.

Barbour: "In my career, I've made it a point that I don't talk about people's personal problems.  I don't think it's polite.  I don't think it's appropriate and I don't think it advances the ball down the field. The people the South Carolina have got to decide and he's got to decide if he ever wants to run for anything and I'm not going to prejudge that based on what I think is a personal tragedy for his family."

Should Sanford resign?

Barbour: "I don't think he should."

What about lying to his staff?  Misleading South Carolinians? Erratic behavior?

Barbour: "I don't know what he said to different people. He didn't say anything to me, so I'm not going to prejudge that.  But look, the Sanfords have got something they've got to work through.  I think they're trying work through it and what that means politically right now, for them, is probably a whole lot less important than what it means for their family."

What impact will Sanford and Ensign situations have on the health of the GOP?

Barbour:  "I actually don't think there'll be any efffect and when I say 'any' I mean literally any effect…I don't think it'll change how one person's going to vote in November of 2009 or in November of 2010. I think it's a terrible thing.  I hate it for them, but if you ask what I think the effect will be at the ballot box — I don't think if will have any effect at the ballot box." 

As mentioned above, Barbour dismissed discussion of a possible run for the White House in 2012.  After the show, Barbour talked with a small group of Iowa reporters and he put a finer point on it. 

"When I was (RNC) chairman in '93 and '94, I told thousands of people, 'Look, if you're a good Republican you ought to be focused on the '93 and '94 elections because what happens in them is a whole lot more important to winning the presidency in '96 than going around campaigning for president.'  Well, I'm taking my own advice.  In 2009 and 2010, I feel exactly the same way," Barbour said.  "….If after that, it seems like a reasonable thing, I will consider it. I have no plan to run for president. I have no intention to run for president, but I have been around long enough to say, 'Never say never,' and we'll just see where we are after '10, but I would be very surprised if I turned out to be a candidate for president.  My wife would be more surprised."

RNC chair picks two Michiganders for transition

I'm not pretending to read any tea leaves here, but new Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele has asked two Republicans from Michigan and a Republican from Florida to serve on a "transition team."  As you may recall, Michigan and Florida are two states which leapfrogged over Iowa's Caucuses this past election cycle. The news release indicated the group will review "all party operations" and one might assume that means the 2012 election calendar, although the next reference in the same sentence is to preparing for "this year's elections."

In 2008, Michigan held its primary on Tuesday, January 15, prompting officials Iowa and New Hampshire to move their contests foward.  The RNC voted to dock Michigan at the Republican National Convention, stripping the state of half its delegates. Florida held its primary January 29 and, again, the RNC voted to deprive the state of half its delegates at the presidential nominating convention in St. Paul.

Read the RNC news release below:


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Hey y’all: Barbour’s really not running

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour appeared at a news conference at 10:45 this morning and firmly said — with that southern drawl — that he is not in Iowa because he will be running for president in 2008.  Here’s the story (there’s an mp3 at the bottom if you want to listen to the entire news conference).  Here’s the quote: "I’m going to be the only elected official y’all see out here this year that’s not running for president," Barbour said.  "I am affirmatively not running for president.  I’m on hurricane duty and will be."  Barbour plans to run for re-election in 2007.

Scorecard for 2008 Iowa Caucuses

The early competition in Iowa for the 2008 presidential campaign is not for votes but for people as the candidates try to sign-on party insiders to help guide them through Iowa’s Caucuses. Former Iowa Republican Party chairman Chuck Larson, Junior announced last month that he’s in Arizona Senator John McCain’s campaign. Diane Crookham-Johnson, a long-time GOP activist from Oskaloosa (she works at Musco), has been helping New York Senator George Pataki since last year. Today, Doug Gross – the former aide to former Republican Governor Terry Branstad – announced he’s in Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s camp.

While folks in the beltway identify McCain and Virginia Senator George Allen as front-runners, when you talk with party regulars (other than the three named above) they are more apt to name governors, like Romney, or Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, as leading up their “short lists” of viable candidates. Allen is barely known here, and McCain will face the same fence-building task that former Vice President Al Gore painstakingly went through when he ran in 2000 – trying to soothe the hurt feelings of Democrats who remembered his castigation of the Caucuses in 1988.

If you’re keeping a score card at home of the list of potential candidates on each side, let’s compare notes. Here’s the list of potential candidates I’ve compiled for our newsroom:

  • U. S. Senators (R): George Allen of Virginia; Sam Brownback of Kansas; Bill Frist of Tennessee; Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; John McCain of Arizona; Rich Santorum of Pennsylvania.
  • U. S. Senators (D): Evan Bayh of Indiana; Joe Biden of Delaware; Hillary Clinton of New York; Russ Feingold of Wisconsin; John Kerry of Massachusetts.
  • Governors (R): Haley Barbour of Mississippi; Mike Huckabee of Arkansas; George Pataki of New York; Mitt Romney of Massachusetts
  • Governors (D): Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania; Bill Richardson of New Mexico; Tom Vilsack of Iowa
  • Congress: Republican Tom Tancredo of Colorado.
  • Others (R): ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia; ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Guilliani
  • Others (D): retired General Wesley Clark; ex-Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, ex-Governor Mark Warner of Virginia

As I read through that list, I find the majority of those potential candidates have been in Iowa at least once in the past 12 months (NOT counting attendance at the National Governor’s Association meeting in Des Moines last July). There are only seven who have not been here. Santorum’s got a tough re-election campaign in Pennsylvania to occupy his time. Clinton doesn’t want to visit Iowa and raise even more speculation about her White House aspirations as she’s running for re-lection. Biden has been to Iowa since the 2004 election, just not in the past 12 months. Barbour’s got a state to rebuild. Rendell is on the list because some of my DC reporter friends say he’s on their list; he didn’t show for the NGA. Richardson did come to the NGA meeting. Warner has been back since that NGA meeting.

The test for that long list of candidates now is to start making announcements like McCain and Romney have, showing they’re lining up the Iowa foot soldiers. 2006 local and legislative candidates in Iowa should thank their lucky stars they can get the star power of one of these party people to headline an event. I doubt the people running for the state legislatures in most other states have a clue how much the Iowa Caucuses mean to candidates down the ballot in Iowa.