“Make Steve Roberts King of Des Moines”

State Rep. Sandy Greiner (R-Keota) is one of the Republican Party of Iowa’s representatives on the national party’s Rules Committee.  She says there was a serious challenge from Michigan and Florida to Iowa’s status as the first caucus state in 2012.

"It’s not over until it’s over," Greiner says.  "You know, the Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau really should make our friend Steve Roberts ‘king of Des Moines’ because there was a very serious attempt to take this all away from us.  They weren’t exactly taking it away from us, it’s just that they had created a situation where New Hampshire could have gone as early as the 2nd of January and that was going to force Iowa into having our Caucuses in December when everybody was realyl concerned about Christmas and because Steve knew the players, he was able to craft a compromise and offered an amendment to that amendment that keeps us first in the nation.

"However, that still has to be approved on the floor by the entire convention.  Generally, the convention simply ratifies the work of the Rules Committee, but I know that on at least one other issues a minority report is being filed and there may be additional discussion on our issue as well, so while I have a great deal of respect for what our national committeeman has accomplished in the last 48 hours, I am still not comfortable saying, ‘It’s a done deal and is greased.’"

In Democratic Party politics, the main challenge of Iowa’s Caucuses comes from Michigan.  Where does the challenge come from in the GOP?

"Michigan and Florida were both adamant that we are not capable or worthy of seelcting presidents of the United States," Greiner replied.

New Hampshire tried an end run as well.

"I wasn’t privy to what happened in the back room," Greiner said.  "I only know that a compromise was crafted with individuals from South Carolina, New Hampshire and our national committeeman Steve Roberts was really the ring leader on that and was able to get it accomplished.  It was a phenomenal thing to watch, being political myself.  It was a new experience and I was impressed."

A little history here:  Roberts has been the Republivan Party of Iowa’s national committeeman for years but lost his bid for re-election at the party’s June convention.  Greiner, a stae legislator who is not seeking re-election this fall, ran to be Iowa’s national committeewoman and lost at state convention as well.  Iowa Republicans elected two well-known social conservatives in the party — Steve Scheffler of the Iowa Christian Alliance and Kimi Lehman of Iowa Right-to-Life Committee — to be Iowa’s national committeeman and committeewoman, effective at the end of this national convention.  So, this was Roberts’ last meeting.

I’ll be back later with Griner’s account of the emotional response to John McCain’s decision to select Sarah Palin as his running mate.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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