GOP race for US Senate nod

There are three candidates on the ballot for Iowa Republicans on June 3.  It’s been difficult to cover this race, for a variety of reasons.  One, I’ve been trying for two weeks to get two of the candidates to call me.  Neither Chris Reed nor Steve Rathje has done so.  Second, none of the three release campaign schedules. 

This is an odd primary which seems to feature three factions of the party.  First, you have Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje, who is backed by Republican Party of Iowa co-chairman Leon Mosley (Mosley introduced Rathje at Rathje’s campaign kick-off last year).  Rathje’s put in a lot of miles in the past 12 months or so.  I saw him speak at a number of party events where presidential candidates campaigned before the Caucuses.  Second, there is Christopher Reed, who seems to have the backing of former Republican Party of Iowa executive director Chuck Laudner.  Third, there is George Eichhorn, a former state legislator who appears to be the candidate of current RPI chairman Stewart Iverson.  Eichhorn, by the way, is the only one of the three who had staff return my call. Eichhorn come into the Radio Iowa office on Tuesday and answered questions in a recorded interview.

UPDATE at 2:51 p.m. Friday, May 23, 2008:  I received this email a few moments ago.


Read with interest your blog entry of today.  Please know that Christopher has not heard from you, and apologizes that somewhere your name and message was lost.  He will be calling you today.

Second — while I am working for Christopher Reed and his Senate race, and I am married to Chuck, Chuck has not publicly come out an endorsed a candidate and a correction to your blog entry would be greatly appreciated.  If and when he decides to endorse, we will let you know.

Thank you,

Stephanie Laudner
Campaign Manager
Reed for U.S. Senate 2008

This was my reply to the above message:


As you may recall, you & I chatted by phone about my request for an interview while you were at the NRA convention. Mr. Reed himself — unless someone else is using ((address omitted)) — responded with some campaign events scheduled for Saturday. I emailed that address and yours this past Monday to restate my request for an interview.


UPDATE #2 is an email from Caleb Hunter, executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa:

I just wanted to pass along a brief update to your blog post this afternoon.

A press release from the Eichhorn Campaign mentioned that Marc Elcock, a former staff member of Stewart Iverson is serving as George Eichhorn’s campaign treasurer.  Chairman Iverson has not and will not endorsed a candidate until after the Republican Primary for US Senate. Iverson believes that all three candidates will make tremendous general election candidates and ultimately an excellent US Senator.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Kay, thank you for trying to stay on top of this race.
    George Eichhorn has been traveling the state campaigning agressively and is working hard to not only win this primary but to take on Tom Harkin in this critically important election year.
    Please note that not only is Mr. Eichhorn thte only candidate with proven, elective experience but he also has more than 30 endoresements from Republican elected and former elected officials and party leaders from across the state.
    These Republican leaders know George Eichhorn and they know he has the intelect and experience to take on Harkin.