Palin in Des Moines

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is due to speak soon in Des Moines.  A crowd of over 1500 is assembled in Hy-Vee Hall, seated around tables, 10 chairs at each table, with a piece of chocolate cake ready for each guest.  Click here; the audio from the speech is at the bottom of the page. What follows is a live blog of the event.

The pastor who delivered this evening’s prayer gave a brief speech beforehand which was interrupted frequently with applause.  State Auditor Dave Vaudt led the crowd in saying The Pledge, then Congressman Steve King gave a brief speech, followed by Congressman Tom Latham’s brief remarks. 

About an hour ago Iowa Republican Party chairman Matt Strawn said tonight’s event is “tightly scripted” — which means some candidates will not be given a chance to speak.

Jim Gibbons, the former Iowa State University wrestling coach who ran for congress in the third district, is the chairman of the banquet. Gibbons said the party found out about the event “about two weeks ago and the response has been overwhelming.”

Gibbons is introducing the candidates in the audience, state legislators and candidates for the legislature, followed by the statewide candidates who are here (Ag Secretary Bill Northey’s at a convention somewhere), concluding with the congressional candidates.  Gibbons gave a special zing to his introduction of Brad Zaun, the man who beat Gibbons in the June Primary.

Chuck Grassley gets to the stage just before seven o’clock.  The crowd rises to applaud. (It’s his 77th birthday today, BTW, but I hear no one singing “Happy Birthday” to Grass-lee.)  “Can I make one thing clear…that we work for you, you don’t work for us?” Grassley began.  His speech text sounds quite similar to the one he delivered at the state GOP convention in late June.

“Barbara and I have always appreciated your support…We need your support this year.  Together, we will reclaim America,” Grassley said in conclusion.

Terry Branstad, the GOP nominee for governor, is next, at 7:02 p.m.  “God Bless You Iowa Republicans.  I’m glad to be back and I’m going to lead this whole ticket to victory this fall with your help,” Branstad yelled to open his remarks.

“This is a great turn-out and I want to thank all of you for being here.  I want to thank Sarah Palin for drawing such a great crowd,” Branstad said. 

Branstad concluded at 7:08 p.m. “Let’s lead the whole Republican team, including the legislature to victory.  Thank you all very much.”

The lights were dimmed.  A video montage of President Ronald Reagan is being played.  At 7:10 p.m. Iowa GOP chair Strawn is on stage, talking about Reagan.

“It was Iowa, in 2008, that helped propel Obama to the White House but my, oh my, how Iowa has changed,” Strawn said before touting the slate of Iowa Republican candidates on the November ballot.

Strawn introduces Palin at 7:12 p.m.

“Welcome, welcome,’ Palin said.  “Thank you so much Iowa.  I am so honored to be here…Great to be in the Hawkeye State and happy Constitution Day to you all.”

Palin noted it is National POW/MIA Day today, too, and she asked veterans in the audience to stand for a round of applause.

“We do you thank you and we honor you,” Palin said.

Palin told a story about wanted to go for a run today “in your most beautiful state” so she could enjoy the fall weather.  She said she donned a Hawkeye t-shirt and a Cyclone cap. It was “showing love for the home team,” she said.

Palin told the crowd her husband, Todd, advised her to run on the treadmill in the hotel.  The punchline would be a headline in Vanity Fair, according to Palin, which would read: “Palin, in Iowa, decides to run.”

The crowd laughed and clapped. “Oh, but I did run. Outside the box.

Palin praised Branstad and talked about her Twitter endorsement of him.  “Someday I hope my son is big enough and strong enough to shake your next governor’s hand, Gerry Branstad’s,” she said.

Palin next talked about Iowa’s senior senator. “Senator Grassley has a special place in my heart.  He’s the only guy who loves to Twitter as much as I do,” Palin quipped.

She mentions Grassley’s 77th birthday, the praised him for opposing the “mother of all unfunded mandates” — the health care reform package.

Palin advocated “reform and replace” rather than repeal of the “government over-reach in Washington.”

Palin did a shout out to Brenna Findley, the GOP candidate for Iowa attorney general, and Kim Reynolds, Branstad’s running mate.

You are good people, Iowa,” Palin said, to applause. “Iowa and all across the great U.S., we have some great common sense conservatives who are putting it all on the line…fighting, fighting for what is right and a lot of them just fought some tough primary battles…Competition is good.  Healthy competition breeds success…and this all reveals character.

“But the time for primary debate is over.  It’s time for unity..because the time for choosing is near. 

“It is time to unite.  If the goal really is to take away the gavel from Pelosi and Reid and to stop the Obama agenda…then it is time to unite and congratulations to the primary voters and to the primary victors.

“Now, unsuccessful GOP campaigns and deflated political pundits, remember: attitudes are contagious, so make sure yours are worth catching.  Quick, just quick woodshed moment.  I think that’s just what mom’s kind of gotta do and momma grizzlies, but I’ll try not to growl, OK? But unsuccessful campaigns and Beltway pundits, all bent out of shape right now after some recent primary battles, I’ve got to ask:  Did you ever lose a big game growing? I’ve lost.  I’ve lost games, races,reputation.  You lose some, you win some. 

“…I know growing up, my folks would say, ‘Show grace.  Reveal character.’…My dad was more along the lines of ‘Don’t retreat, just reload.’

The audience applauded.

“Either way, it’s for the sake of our country…Reload with character and truth and helpful efforts to restore what’s right about America and what will work for America…So let us unite.  Primary voters have spoken.

“Now, I don’t know how the machine works.  I don’t really know who they are…up in that hierarchy in the GOP machine…I think some of those experts were the ones who were wrong…so I don’t know who organizes the efforts that is needed to put obsessive partisanship aside when it gets in the way of just doing what is right for the American people and those internal power struggles that need to be set aside for the good of the order.”

She next talked about “the great Awakening of America” and the need to raise money and knock on doors.

“We’ve got to hold the press accountable when you know that they’re making things up and telling untruths.  We’ve got to do this together,” Palin said.

The crowd applauded.

“And by the way, I am the biggest proponent of freedom of the press in this country, our young men and women in uniform willing to fight and die for our constitutional rights, including that right to have free press. It’s why I am hot on this lamestream media issue…How dare anyone disrespect the troops’ sacrifice by claiming the right to print and say anything without a corresponding responsibility to truth!”

More applause.

“And in this kind of strange, unaccountable day of anyone and everyone getting to claim that they are a journalist…when the media uses…anonymous sources to cowardly attack someone…they are cowards and the journalists perpetuating the problem, the untruths, they are gutless.”

“…And we’ve got to call it like we see it or things will never change, America.”

Palin next mentioned President George W. Bush’s chief political advisor who has been critical of Christine O’Donnell, Palin’s pick in the Delaware primary who won this past Tuesday.  “And Karl.  Go to, here.  You can come to Iowa and Karl Rove and the other leaders who will see the light and realize that these are just the normal, hardworking, patriot Americans who are saying, ‘No. Enough is enough. We want to turn this around and we want to get back to those time-tested truths that are right for America.’

“But Iowa, but we won’t wait, though as we desire the sincere effort knowing that yes, everyone can help.  Those with scruples, working together…This is it, GOP.  This is out time.  We can’t blow it, but we won’t wait for that political playbook to be handed us from on high, from the elites, to tell us what to do.  We won’t do that.”

Palin referred to the second stimulus as “nonsense.”  She quoted an analysis of the cost of each job created by the first stimulus. “And I’m the idiot, hmm,yeah!” Palin joked.

“…November 2nd is just ahead and that’s shaping up to be a great day for America.”

She touted tax cuts for all, keeping all the Bush tax cuts intact. “Cutting taxes.  It works.  Mayors do it,” Palin said.  “…Governors do it…Hey, so feds, let the private sector soar and America will soar again.”

She talked about Obama’s foreign policy, quoting a European official who called it “enemy centric.”

“There’s a disturbing pattern here of reaching out to our sworn enemies…foolish, and how long can that go on,” Palin said.

The Obama Administration’s foreign policy is “a far cry from Ronald Reagan days,” according to Palin, who cited a Reagan quote:  “We win.  They lose.”

She begins to wind down, saying it’s time to reprioritize. “It may take some renegades to get us there…Shakin’ it up to get there.”

“…Lately, there hasn’t been much coming out of Washington that deserves our support…and based on what I’ve seen over the past year…Times may be tough, but there are signs of hope all over the place…Des Moines, Davenport and Dover, Delaware.”

She mentions the “Tea Parties.”

“…So between now and November we’re going to stand up and speak up…We’re going to elect leaders who have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”

“…Iowa, it starts here.  It starts tonight.  Let’s get it back.  God bless Iowa.  God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.”

She ended her speech at 7:46 p.m.

Vander Plaats announcement: not running in November; leading campaign against SupCo justices

Listen to the announcement here.  Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats held a news conference on the sidewalk outside the Iowa Judicial Building and began by saying he had ruled out running for governor as an independent candidate in the fall election.  Vander Plaats then announced he’ll lead an effort to unseat the three Iowa Supreme Court justices who are on November’s ballot in a retention election.

Read the news releases/statements which have been issued regarding these two announcements.

VANDER PLAATS LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO UNSEAT SUPREME COURT JUSTICES WHO LEGISLATED SAME-SAX MARRIAGE FROM BENCH

Sioux City Businessman Will Not Run for Governor as Independent Candidate

[Read more…]

Pawlenty at the Dubuque Country Club

Pawlenty poses for photo with GOP congressional candidate Ben Lange

Pawlenty poses for photos

About 60 people are gathered in a banquet room at the Dubuque Country Club for a fundraiser benefitting State Representative Steve Lukan, a Republican seeking another term in the Iowa House.  Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is due here as the “draw” or keynote speaker at the event.  The windows on the far side of the room look out over the golf course, showing the haze that still hangs in the air.  Heavy fog blanketed the state this morning, hence Pawlenty’s delayed arrival at the Dubuque Airport.  I’m told he is wheels down, on his way here.

Things got rolling a few minutes earlier than the 9:30 tee-off time, despite Pawlenty’s delayed arrival.  Dyersville Mayor Jim Heavens delivered the invocation, suggesting he’d been asked to pray because “heavens” is the seventh word in the Bible.  Mayor Heavens prayed about potential Iowa voters giving Pawlenty and others seeking office this November a look, asking God to “open their ears, open their eyes, but — most importantly — open their hearts.”

It’s 9:34 a.m. and the crowd is hearing the standard stump speech from State Senator Kim Reynolds, the GOP’s nominee for lieutenant governor (which means she’s GOP gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad’s running mate).  She talked about “not-withstanding” language, but soon moved to talking about the stable of candidates for state office.  “Please join us and work hard and talk to friends and family.  Let’s get people out to vote,” Reynolds says.  “….It’s just opportunities all over the place this year.”

She finished up at 9:37 a.m.   Next candidate invited to speak:  Ben Lange of Independence, the GOP candidate for the first congressional district.  “If we don’t take a stand this November…we will know…a significantly different America than the one you grew up in and I grew up in,” Lange said.  “…The path that we’re on (is) unsustainable….We are spending money that we simply don’t have.”

He gets his first burst of applause by decrying government-run health care.    Lange a few moments later told the crowd he’s encouraging people not to vote for incumbents this year.>”Boo,” said Rep. Lukan, the person who is the beneficiary of this fundraiser.  The crowd laughed.

Lange wrapped up his speech, then got the “stretch” signal, so he opened it up to questions.  The first question he gets is about health care and how to repeal it.  “i’m also a realist.  It’s going to take two-thirds in the House and two-thirds in the Senate to repeal it, so the chances of that are slim.  That is why the House of Rep. is so key,” Lange answered, suggesting the House, under Republican control, could “defund it.”

The second question is about health care, too, about the “supply side” — doctors, nurses, etc.

Reynolds, in response to another question about state issues, says voters have had the impression there’s been no difference between Republicans and Democrats. “We’ve tried to give them a clear vision of how we will respond and react when we are in leadership,” Reynolds said.

As the time drags on and Pawlenty’s arrival is further delayed, the event becomes a Q&A for the congressional candidate.  Immigration reform, term limits, Charlie Rangel are all topics he’s asked to address.

“They unfortunately had fog in Minneapolis,” a woman announces to the crowd as Pawlenty walks into the room.
“We had a little weather in Paul,” Governor Pawlenty said at 10:14 a.m. as he took the microphone from a very relieved Steve Lukan. Pawlenty apologized for his tardy arrival, then gave the mic to his wife, Mary.  “She’s got some Iowa roots,” the governor said.

She told the crowd their flight out of MN had been delayed by the “better to be safe than sorry plan.”  Mary Pawlenty said she, as a political spouse, has had the opportunity to sit through “lots and lots and lots of campaign speeches…and you hear the same jokes, although I still think they’re hilarious.”

She told the crowd one of her husband’s greatest strengthes was “his ability to talk to us about issues from health care to foreign policy to the budget,” and she said her husband has the ability to “inspire.” She talked about her family roots in the Decatur County/Leon, Iowa area, where her grandmother lived.  “Been back many times,” she said of summer treks to southern Iowa.

“It’s completely gorgeous here.  I wish we could stay a lot longer,” she said of Dubuque, then handed the mic back to her husband.

Pawlenty began with a story/’joke, about a talking frog.  An “elderly, wise Minnesota woman” came across a talking frog at the side of the road who said to the women, ‘If you kiss me on the lips I will turn into a very handsome man,'” Pawlenty recounted.

Pawlenty told the crowd that elderly woman put the frog in her pocket.  The frog became agitated, asking the woman if she’d missed the part about the kissing and the handsome man he’d become.

Pawlenty delivered the punch line:  “She said, “yea, I heard ya, but at my age, I’d rather have a talking frog.'”
Then he moved quickly into his speech.  “We have to get back to what’s real and what’s authentic,” Pawlenty said.  “…We have a nation that is adrift …headed in a dangerous direction.”

Pawlenty talked about what he called “misguided” liberals.  “We need to stand up and fight back,” he said.
Pawlenty talks about his Freedom First PAC, the American dream and the American spirit (this is the core of his standard stump speech). Pawlenty tells the crowd “busy, hard-working people, they may not even notice:” the loss of their freedoms, but he said “patriots” do see it and “need to rise up and say, Enough.'”

Pawlenty told the crowd Republicans need to remind the public of the dangers of tyrrany “gently and constructively.”

He talked about God, the creator. “We should remember that these privileges come from our creator, not from our congressman,” he said.

Next up, a discussion of quality of life — a reference to RAGBRAI and to Bret Favre leading the Vikings to the Super Bowl, which drew laughter.

He said one of the “common denominators” to quality of life is: “You’ve got to have a job….so the pathway to quality of life is dependence on making sure we have places where our economy is growing…and making sure that we do those things that encourage  not discourage (economic growth).”

He specifically mentions the federal budget deficit. “We need to do something that’s very straightforward.  We can’t spend more money than we have,” he said, before talking about some fo the budget-cutting he’s done as governor of Minnesota.

Next, he told people he was born in 1960, and a few seconds later joked: “Yes, that makes me 50 this year….I got my AARP card in the mail the other day,” Pawlenty said, to laughter.  “….I don’t want to see that.”
Back to the budget-cutting message.  “Govt has to live within it’s means,” he said.

As for health care: “If you want to reform health care…..we don’t drag it into Washington, D.C….create a one-size-fits-all system and then expect that to work when they create the impression it’s free.”

Pawlenty closed his speech by praising Republican candidates who’ve stepped forward  “It’s noble work,” he said of Republican candidates in the room who are seeking public office.  “…We’ve got enough goofballs in politics.”
Questioner #1 urged Pawlenty to “take this challenge in Paul Revere fashion” and talk specifically against some federal programs, like cap and trade. “This could be a wonderful first step for you by being very specific,” the questioner advised.

The next questioner asked about the bailout for the auto industry, which she called “ridiculous.” “I know you’re interested in running for president,” she said, saying Iowans are “looking at you” to offer a counter argument to Democrats.

Pawlenty shared a bit of biography.  “I come from a meatpacking town…When I talk about these economic issues…I want you to know I have a background and a life experience (there). “…I think the bailout of the auto industry was a joke….there are mechanisms in place…and it’s called bankruptcy.”

Pawlenty complains about the concept of “too big to fail,” suggested it has led to a federal deficit that is “too big to pay off.”

“…We’ve got a set of federal leaders who are too small to even do anything about it,” he said.
When the woman followed up, asking what the solution was, Pawlenty replied:  “Get a new president and a new congress and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

As for the Wall Street companies that got bail-out bucks, Pawlenty said: “Next time it happens, let ’em go bankrupt….Would the world really be worse off if we didn’t have AIG?  I don’t think so.”

Pawlenty concluded his remarks.  “I’m willing to plant a flag and fight,” Pawlenty said.  “…Thank you for listening.”

Rep. Lukan gave Pawlenty a hand-made, “custom model” baseball ball.  “Bill Clinton has one, George Bush has one,” Luken said.

Funk for Supervisor

Dave Funk got 22 percent of the votes cast in the June Primary and finished third in the seven-person race for the Republican Party’s nomination in Iowa’s third congressional district.  Funk, who got the support of many “Tea Party” activists, is officially a candidate for Polk County Supervisor this morning.

Funk endorsed both Brad Zaun, the winner of the third district GOP primary, and Terry Branstad, the winner of the GOP’s gubernatorial nomination.  This morning Funk held a news conference in Des Moines where he was joined by Branstad’s running mate Kim Reynolds, the GOP’s lieutenant governor nominee, as well as Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn. Funk formally announced his candidacy for supervisor.

A special Polk County Republican Convention was held Tuesday evening and Funk was nominated to run in the third district — the Polk County Board of Supervisors’ third district.  He’ll face incumbent Democrat Tom Hockensmith in November. Democrats have held a majority of seats on the Polk County Board of Supervisors for over six decades.  If Funk wins, it would tip the balance.

The website for Funk’s congressional campaign is still up, with a thank you note to his supporters on the home page.  (A previous version of this post had incorrect timing on the special nominating convention.)  Here’s Funk’s new campaign website.

AUDIO: The 2010 Iowa GOP state convention

It’s 9:58 a.m. and a man’s voice coming through the sound system is telling delegates to take their seats here in Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines, Iowa. Convention activities are set to commence at 10 a.m.  A battle looms over who the delegates at this convention will pick as the party’s lieutenant governor nominee:  the man who finished second in the June 8th GOP gubernatorial primary or the woman who the GOP’s gubernatorial nominee has picked.  UPDATE:  Kim Reynolds won 55.6 percent of the delegates’ votes, beating Bob Vander Plaats and winning the LG nomination.  (Listen to speeches, read more here.)

What follows is a live blog of the day.

The Branstad campaign has been handing out pink t-shirts, touting the Branstad/Reynolds ticket.  Branstad is Terry Branstad, the former four-term governor who’s seeking a fifth term in 2010.  Reynolds is Kim Reynolds, the state senator who Branstad has picked as a running mate.  If you don’t know, supporters of Bob Vander Plaats — Branstad’s rival for the GOP gubernatorial nomination — intend to nominate BVP for LG. 

It’s 10 a.m. and Matt Strawn, the Iowa GOP chairman, has just gaveled the convention into order.  Folks are being asked to stand for the invocation.  RNC Committeeman Steve Scheffler gave a little speech first, saying the party needs to be united.  

“We pray that your people will rise up and be involved in the political process this year,” he prayed, then seemed to seek some innoculation for the masses that would prevent an all-out war over the lieutenant governor nomination.  “….Lord, today, be with our deliberations and, in spite of some of our minor differences, that we speak words of love and not hate and ugliness.” 

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Vander Plaats: “I’m not leaving…going to stay in the game.”

“I am walking off the field with my head help up high, but I’m not leaving either.  I mean, I am going to stay in the game because I feel I owe it to a lot of people to be their voice, maybe to be their face on a lot of issues.” — Bob Vander Plaats, on June 25, 2010, on WHO Radio.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats is on The Steve Deace Show on WHO Radio this afternoon.  Vander Plaats hasn’t made any comments in public since Primary Night.   UPDATE: Here’s the Radio Iowa roundup of what Vander Plaats said this afternoon.

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AUDIO: Branstad picks Kim Reynolds as running mate

UPDATEHere is the Radio Iowa story.  You may listen to the entire 20-minute news conference there.  Below is a live blog of the event.

At 8:50 a.m. Terry Branstad’s campaign sent out a text message on the Branstad 2010 Twitter account, letting supporters who signed up for the Twitter alert that State Senator Kim Reynolds is his choice for a lieutenant governor/running mate.  This keeps a string going.

A previous tweet sent a picture, showing the “stage” for today’s announcement. Branstad’s campaign will hold a news conference in a conference room at the Ankeny airport.  The room is utilitarian, with a wood-like lectern at the south end.  A blue and white Branstad sign is taped on the front, anda field of 12 signs have been taped on the wall behindto provide a photo back-drop, partially obscuring the window that is behind.

At exactly 9 a.m., Terry & Chris Branstadwalked into the room, with Reynolds walking behind.

“Since our victory in the June primary, I’ve given a lot of thought and consideration as to who should join me on this journey,” Branstad said, adding there was “no shortage” of qualified Republicans for the post he’s now asking Reynolds to fill.

Branstad called Reynolds a “dynamic and dedicated public servant who shared my core values on the key issues.”  Branstad said Reynolds has “a lot of enthusiasm and a track-record…Iowans will quickly learn important facts about Senator Kim Reynolds.”

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Pataki & Revere America

Pataki250Former New York Governor George Pataki is in Des Moines today for a “RevereAmerica.org” event.  The group is seeking a million signatures on a petition which calls for repeal of the national health care reform plan President Obama signed into law this spring.  UPDATE: Read the Radio Iowa story and find a 35-minute-long mp3 of the event here.  What follows is a live blog of the event.

Republican Party of Iowa chairman Matt Strawn opens by recognizing elected officials in the room:  State Auditor Dave Vaudt; Senator Larry Noble; Senator Kim Reynolds; Senator Brad Zaun; Rep. Eric Helland; Rep. Matt Windschitl; Rep. Renee Schulte; Rep. Linda Upmeyer; Rep. Rod Roberts.

Strawn tells a story about his five year old son’s reaction to news that his mother/Strawn’s wife is expecting a baby girl.  “I know we’ve got a few months for that to change,” Strawn said his son said.  His five year old has a “suspended sense of reality” that’s similar to the one Democrats have according to Strawn.S [Read more…]

From Cornell to Corelle

Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Mt Vernon, Iowa) was a long-time political science professor at Cornell College before he was elected to congress in 2006.  A Loebsack aide tells James Q. Lynch of The Cedar Rapids Gazette that Loebsack isn’t interested in becoming the school’s next president.

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Cumming, Iowa) is getting flack from the left. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) isn’t happy with Harkin who is now chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.  Adam Green, who identifies himself as co-founder of the PCCC, emails the following:

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee will spend thousands of dollars this week on an online ad campaign in the states of at least 10 senators who should be for the public option but have refused to issue a statement so far, reaching at least 1 million people online.

First up: Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa — and we’ll soon be naming more. Jon Stewart lampooned Harkin last week for previously saying, “I’d say right now we have well over 55 votes for a public option, but we need 60” — while now shrugging his shoulders and saying not even 50 exist.

Harkin also claimed on MSNBC that nobody has fought harder for the public option than him. I’ve been a longtime Harkin fan, but at this point, that claim is laughable. I can name at least 30 senators who have fought harder than Harkin, with more likely to come.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats wins one aspect of the race with competitors former Governor Terry Branstad and Representative Rod Roberts.  Vander Plaats was first to file his nomination petitions, a few hours after the period for filing opened.

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House GOP takes different path on “pay equity”

On February 16, the Iowa Senate passed a "pay equity" bill.  All the Democrats in the senate voted for it; all 18 Republicans in the senate voted against it.  Republican women led the debate against the bill, arguing if the bill becomes law, attorneys will start filing frivolous lawsuits against businesses.

"Lawsuits just filed willy nilly could have a tremendous effect on the businesses that operate in your small towns," said Senator Pat Ward, a Republican from West Des Moines. "Any Main Street busiess with four or more employees could be affected."

Senator Kim Reynolds, a Republican from Osceola, also worried about "frivolous lawsuits" from women using the new law to charge they're underpaid, when current law already allows them to charge they're being discriminated against on the job. "And it seems to me that we already have existing laws on the books that would enable people to move forward with this," Reynolds said. "And that, really, disparity in pay is an open door to taking this further than we need to."

But when the pay equity bill came up for debate in the Iowa House, that argument about frivolous lawsuits was not raised.  And only one Republican woman stood up to raise questions about the bill. 

If Iowa businesses are paying women less than men who're working at the same kind of job, Republican Representative Jodi Tymeson of Winterset suggested there may be valid reasons for that pay disparity. "We don't know that's wage discrimination," Tymeson said. "…There could be a lot of things that factor into that."

Most Republicans in the House voted for the bill today; it passed on an 87-6 vote.  Yes, only six no votes. 

Representative Doug Struyk of Council Bluffs was among the Republicans who voted for it. "As a husband and a father and a brother and a son, also the son of a Vietnam veteran, anytime you're dealing with discrimination, it doesn't matter if we're talking about 10,000 individuals; 100,000 individuals — one individual is too many," Struyk said.

But Struyk's leader wasn't keen on the bill.

The top Republican in the Iowa House argued requiring "pay equity" in the workplace will make it more difficult for Iowa businesses to make money in the current economic climate. House G.O.P. Leader Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha said the bill does nothing to get the 80,000 unemployed Iowans back to work. "I just want to make sure people understand what's going on here," Paulsen said.