More drama in the Iowa GOP

More high drama in the Republican Party of Iowa.  The latest salvo comes from a group of Republicans from 10 counties who are calling on newly-elected Republican National Committeewoman Kim Lehman to resign. Today's flap is a continuation of a story that developed before the election regarding Lehman and her work with the Iowa Right to Life Committee – and an IRL newsletter's negative remarks about Republican congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa.  Read background, and Lehman's response, here.

Lehman ran for and won the job of Republican National Committeewoman at the Republican Party of Iowa's state convention in July.  She defeated longtime State Representative Sandy Greiner, who also sought the post.  Greiner was supported by some of the people who are now calling for Lehman to resign.  Read the news release below.

Republicans Call for Committeewoman Resignation

(MUSCATINE)—Republican committees and officials from Linn, Johnson, Muscatine, Wapello, Jefferson, Washington, Cedar, Henry, Jones and Louisa Counties have joined together over the past several weeks to call for the resignation of the state Republican National Committeewoman, Kim Lehman.

The group of Eastern Iowa Republican committees and leaders are asking that Lehman be ousted after she used her group, the Iowa Right to Life Committee, to negatively characterize a Republican Congressional candidate during the 2008 election cycle.

Michael Gaeta is the chair of the Muscatine County Central Committee, who was the first to call for Lehman’s resignation. 

“It is one thing to advocate for or against a candidate, but Ms. Lehman’s IRL Committee distributed half-truths and lies about a Republican primary winner. This action is in direct conflict with the duties of our party leaders,” said Gaeta.  “Ms. Lehman has done irreparable damage to her credibility within the party.”

Trudy Caviness, the chair of the Wapello County Republicans stated, “Kim Lehman went too far. We ask our elected officials to take courageous stands for Iowa all of the time. Now it is time for our state central committee to do the same. Kim Lehman needs to go.”
The state party does not have the power to remove Lehman from her position but they can issue a vote of no confidence. 

Republican State Representative, Jeff Kaufmann was joined by Senator Jim Hahn, an 18- year veteran in the Iowa Legislature in calling for Lehman to step down immediately.

“I am proud of our county committees for doing what is right. This is not about one particular candidate, nor is it about the pro-life movement. Most of us demanding Lehman’s resignation are pro-life. This is about Kim Lehman choosing her own self-interests above her party and her state. Anything short of her resignation will affect the credibility of the state party. A person lacking credibility can barely lead, let alone apply a self-defined litmus test to candidates,” said Kaufmann.

The state central committee meets Saturday, December 6, 2008 in Des Moines.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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