Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Grassley questions Sen. Clinton's Ethanol Sincerety

At the National Press Club, Senator Hillary Clinton stated that the US should be "moving on a much faster track" with regards to renewable fuels. This will come as a surprise to those who have been fighting for ethanol for years. From the DMR:
Clinton, who is considered a frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, was one of 26 senators who opposed the energy bill passed by Congress last year mandating the use of 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol by 2012.

Clinton opposed both the ethanol mandate and lawsuit protections for
Senator Grassley released the following statement
"I say to Senator Clinton, 'welcome to the club.' We'll be happy to update her on the pro-ethanol laws we've enacted without her vote. If Senator Clinton is a born-again ethanol supporter, let's hope she has the zeal of a convert as she begins promoting ethanol and other renewable fuels."


WH'08: John Cox at Wig and Pen

John Cox has scheduled another visit to Iowa, his third. I got a phone call last night from a volunteer, asking me to attend a dinner at Wig and Pen but couldn't make out all the details through the static. I'll update with the details. Cox is a Republican lawyer and businessman from Chicago. He sought the GOP nomination for the IL-10 Congressional election and for US Senator.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


WH'08: Doug Gross joins Romney camp.

Jeff Fuller at the Iowans for Romney blog is celebrating Doug Gross's decision to become the Iowa chairman of MA Gov Mitt Romney's Commonwealth PAC. Gross was chief of staff to Governor Branstad and the GOP nominee for governor in 2002. From the PAC's press release:
“Here we have some of the most innovative conservative reforms, coming out of a liberal state like Massachusetts. I decided to find out why, and the answer comes back clearly – Mitt Romney,” said Gross. Gross said that most of the good ideas in public policy come from somewhere other than Washington, DC. He also said that Romney’s background building companies and turning around the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics is good experience to rely upon as the Republican Party faces major challenges in 2006 and beyond.
Gross is the latest in the string of big name Iowa Republicans to pick a horse for the 2008 caucus. State Sen. Chuck Larson and Terry Nelson have both signed on to Sen. John McCain's '08 efforts.


A quick observation

This morning I saw Democratic candidate for governor Sal Mohamed waving at cars on the corner of Riverside and Burlington. You have to admire his quixotic tenacity, if nothing else. And I bet he knows where Carroll County is, too. I'm not sure this primary season could be more fun. While the GOP stands united behind the Nussle/Vander Plaats ticket, Democrats are as fractured as can be. Statehouse Democratic leadership went so far as to call their frontrunner a liar!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


11 Days to Register

Don't forget that the deadline to register to vote in the Republican Primary, May 27, is only 11 days away. Early Voting has also started at the Auditor's office, check out their webpage for more information.

Alan Curry, Republican candidate for county supervisor, recently updated his website. If you have not already, go check it out.


Northey and Leonard at Spaghetti Dinner too

After Nussle, the next most interesting part of the evening was watching Mark Leonard and Bill Northey, both in their formal speeches and before and after the event. Though I must admit, I seem to be coming a bit more ambivalent about the race -- both men seem to be capable candidates and its getting tougher for me to differentiate significant differences between the two.

They both arrived early and were the last ones to leave -- not wanting to leave a person un-talked to. Northey was alone and so spent a good while putting his signs up outside and around the hall. Leonard came with Tim DeMuth, his Eastern Iowan Chair (who's a Johnson County resident), so he began talking to people right away while Tim was posting the signs.

Leonard's speech was well-polished, and very similar in content to the previous times I've heard him speak. The one thing that struck me though -- was that it sure seems like he or his staff are paying an awful lot of attention to Krusty's Blog ... several comments throughout the speech were things that I don't recall hearing before and seemed to be responses/defenses to the attacks against him by commenters on Krusty -- including the fact that he's a Banker, whether or not his international travel has really helped increased trade opportunities, etc. I don't think the average listener would have heard what he said as defensive, but it jumped out at me as responding directly to many of the criticisms in the blogosphere. (Warning, that link has 246 comments, last time I looked, and some get nasty, so don't head overthere unless you have some time and patience)

I don't really recall much of the policy content of Northey's speech (that's what I get for waiting four days to get around to posting), but though his delivery was a little less charismatic than Leonard he has definitely improved since his first visit to town back in October. What was impressive, however, was when he turned to his discussion of campaign momentum -- fundraising, his big endorsement by Claghorn, and his upcoming legislative endorsements (included on this list). We don't have many Republican legislators in Johnson County, but we love those hearty souls that represent portions of the county -- Reps. Sandy Greiner and Jeff Kaufmann, and Sen. Jim Hahn were all at the Dinner on Friday and Northey made a point of pointing out that they are all supporting him. (To be fair, Leonard has an impressive list, too, just not as many legislators and none of ours)

You can also check out more comments about these two, as well as the other speakers at the event from another Johnson County blog, Sick of Spin.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Nussle visits Spaghetti Dinner

Johnson County Republicans gathered last night for their third annual Spaghetti Dinner. Though the weather outside was cold and rainy, Montgomery Hall at the Johnson County Fairgrounds was packed with friends from around the county who had come to hear our special guest, the next Governor of Iowa, Congressman Jim Nussle and visit with fellow Republicans.

About 125 people turned out for delicious spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread from Zio Johno's. I knew it was going to be a good night when the man delivering food saw all the Nussle signs, asked "He's a Republican, right?" and then informed me "He's going to win." Not very often you hear unsolicited praise of Republicans in Johnson County (but then again, he was waiting for us to give him a big check)

While folks were making their way through the serving line and eating, Nussle worked his from table-to-table visiting with everyone. Once every had their food, the program got underway with a quick welcome and introduction by Johnson County Chair Todd Versteegh.

Nussle gave an energetic and rousing speech, talking about the five main challenges facing the state. Since he had been stranded in O'Hare airport for a good part of the day, he had some new interesting stories from the people who he talked to about why they moved to Iowa. As I've said before, I think that this is one of the most critical long-term issues for our state, so I really appreciate the focus that Jim has made on helping people "Choose Iowa."

The Press-Citizen did a pretty good job with its coverage of Nussle, so you can check them out for more info.

The article includes a quote from an independent who came to hear from Nussle and liked what he heard. We actually saw a large number of new faces at the event, which I think goes to show the broad base of support that Jim is attracting -- not just Republicans, but Independents and fair-minded Democrats.

Speaking of independents, independent Senate Candidate Jay Christensen-Szalanski was also in attendance, seeking support for his campaign against Democrat Senator Joe Bolkcom.

After the speech, Jim had time to visit with Dorree Eckhoff, Bob Vander Plaats's former county chair and now the co-chair of the Nussle-Vander Plaats Campaign in the county. He also stopped to listen to some younger Republican supporters.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette's political reporter, Jim Lynch, was also in attendance and interviewed Nussle after his speech. I have not yet seen his report, but will post a link if it's not locked behind their subscribers-only website.

UPDATE 5/15: Here's the Gazette's story.

Also shown in the photo to the left is a recent addition to the Nussle Campaign, Senior Counsel Pete Jeffries. Johnson County Republicans are especially proud to have Pete back in Iowa, since he is a graduate of the University of Iowa, and his parents live here in Iowa City.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


WH'08: Romney in Iowa City

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney made an impressive hour-long visit to the University of Iowa campus, where he met with students and local Republicans at an event hosted by the College Republicans and a business fraternity (I'm not very good at remembering greek letters -- it took me almost four years to get all the fraternities at my college down)

There was a great turnout (I counted 90 people, see photo LEFT), especially considering this is final exam week for the UI students, and the elevator talk after the speech was generally positive -- people thought he was genuine, knowledgeable, and credible as a potential President.

He spoke for 15-20 minutes or so before opening up to questions. His speech was good -- actually very similar to Pataki's in talking about his unexpected election in a Majority-Democrat state and his record of accomplishments in bringing about conservative change in three main areas -- cutting spending, improving education, and health care. I think he did a better job than Pataki, however, in point to concrete things that he's done, which is particularly notable given that he's been in office for all of three years, versus Pataki's twelve.

He then opened up to questions. He was asked about gas prices (and though he eventually got around to mentioning Ethanol, it seems to me he was talking about Nuclear fuel first), nuclear waste transportation (doesn't want Yucca, thinks it should be stored locally), and the effects of same-sex marriage in MA (doesn't think we'll know for a generation, but thinks we will see major problems with children being raise without both a mother and father).

He was also asked directly those who have concerns about his Mormon faith and whether he believes Jesus is the Son of God. (This question actually came respectfully Bobby Kaufman, Chair of the Iowa Federation of College Republicans and Rep. Jeff Kaufman's son, who first thanked Romney for donating to his father's campaign in '04) Romney began by saying he believes that Jesus is his personal savior, and then moved on quoting from Lincoln about our nation's political faith and how he doesn't believe that the U.S. has a religious test and JFK put this issue to bed in 1960 with his election. I had heard his whole explanation before -- I forget whether it was in a press story talking about how he's addressing the issue or on another blog, but this is definitely his practiced response to the question.

He was also asked directly if he was going to run for President. He said he is "keeping his options open," which he pointed out is not a passive activity. He said that he wanted to focus his time between now and November on electing Republicans around the country and then sometime after the elections would make a decision.

I think that's all I've got. Overall, I would say that my impression of Romney was improved quite a bit by the visit -- he definitely deserves his slot in the list of top contenders, but I still wonder with the importance of foreign affairs right now whether he would really be able to go toe-to-toe with McCain.

For more info, you can also check out the Daily Iowan coverage of the event. Iowans for Romney also has a post about the Coe College Commencement Address and another with a report from the ICA House Party in Cedar Rapids. Krusty also has a run-down from a "Korrespondent."

UPDATE: Yepsen's column today is also devoted Romney's recent visit -- seems to be impressing him, too.

Monday, May 08, 2006


WH '08: Romney for Iowans for Romney

MA gov. Mitt Romney is going to be meeting with member of the Iowa Christian Alliance tonight up in Cedar Rapids. Those who can't make it can get a perspective on Romney from two Iowa bloggers who have thrown their support behind the probable 2008 candidate.

Fellow Johnson County resident Jeff Fuller lives in North Libery. He works at the UIHC on a Vitreoretinal Surgical Fellowship (I had to look that up. Vitreoretinal (vĭt'rē-ō-rĕt'n-əl) Of, relating to, or affecting the limit between the retina and the vitreous body.). He's been blogging at Fuller's Field, but has recently opened Iowans for Romney where he keeps an eye on Romney's activities.

Another pro-Romney blog is Des Moines attorney Jack Hollander's Romney for Iowa. Jack worked with Romney on the Salt Lake City Olympics and came to know him as a man of character and integrity. In an email, Jack said he became interested in blogging after reading Iowa's Who's Makin' Bacon, Krusty Konservative, and Drew Miller to name a few.

Both bloggers address Romney's Mormon faith in a way that was instructive to this non-Mormon.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Casino coming to neighbor Riverside

Riverside, the future home of the state's largest Casino and Resort, is just south of the Johnson County border in Washington County.

I know that there is a good bit of difference of opinion within our party on the issue of gambling -- though I personally tend to come from the school of thought that our state legislators our addicted to gambling revenues just as badly as a compulsive gambler is addicted, and that we're making a terrible mistake when consider a casino positive economic development.

Nevertheless, as it stands now Casinos are with us and I don't think that anyone would dispute that great change is on its way to our neighbor to the south. On this point, I recommend that you check out an excellent set of articles, prepared by a class of UI graduate journalism students, The Riverside Project. It was published as an insert in the Friday edition of the Daily Iowan, and I have only just finished reading the exhaustive materials that covers everything from the political campaign to bring the Casino to town to the current repercusions and expected effects. I'll be interested what others think.


Why we need to re-elect Leach ...

... and help our neighboring districts elect Jeff Lamberti and a Republican to succeed Jim Nussle.
The Washington Post has a piece today about how the Democrats are laying out their plans for a legislative and oversight blitz should the unthinkable happen and a Democrat Majority takes over the House of Representatives. While I have no doubt Nancy Pelosi intended her PR to be sign of how confident they are that this will happen, to me it show how important it is that we don't let it happen. Pelosi says that within the first days of their control, they would be:
  • Instead of the Class Action Litigation Reform of this Congress, passing a minimum wage increase
  • Instead of continuing to work to make Medicare more financially stable, rolling back the free market reforms of the Medicare Prescription Drug legislation
  • Instead of continuing to reduce our tax load, passing new procedural restrictions that would make the passage of future tax cuts nearly impossible.
  • Instead of focusing on important legislative action cooperatively with President Bush, running witch-hunt hearings to satisfy their left-wing base on every topic imaginable.

This last point may be the most important. Instead of any productive legislation happening in the final two years of the Bush Administration, we would be listening to conspiracy theories about the Energy Task Force, 9/11 cover-ups, WMDs, and all the Administration's efforts to fight the War on Terror.

Iowa is ground zero in the battle for the House. Though Leach's opponent was conspicuously absent from the Democrat's recent list of 22 key challengers (showing the Democrats acknowledgement that that race is already a lost cause), Lamberti is regularly cited as one of the best pickup opportunities in the nation, and the first congressional district race to replace Nussle is likely one of the most competitive. While we're working hard to elect Jim Nussle Governor, we mustn't forget these important House Races -- as Pelosi herself has told us this week, the results are absolutely critical.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Dvorsky arrested for Drunk Driving

Democrat State Senator Bob Dvorksy (who is actually my state senator in District 15), was arrested for drunk driving last month. The Press-Citizen has the full report. He was arrested at 1:50 AM on April 20, 2006, after originally being stopped for improper use of lanes.

Dvorsky is a senior Democrat leader -- the co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, the Democrat President Pro-tempore, and among other committee memberships serves on the Judiciary Committee. He also WORKS in the judicial system at The Hope House, a community corrections facility.

First of all, I'm also a bit curious why it took two weeks before this was reported in the press -- but I suppose I should surprised that the press-citizen decided to print something negative about a Democrat at all.

Everyone can make mistakes, and at least in his quote he sounds sincerely apologetic about his actions. Still, it's a shame that our elected leaders are not setting a better example. It's no wonder that, according to one ad by a county attorney candidate, 1 out of every 5 UI students leaves Johnson County with a criminal record.

At least, it doesn't appear that he got any special treatment -- unlike a certain other Democrat in the news today. Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), son of Senator Ted Kennedy, followed in his father's footsteps of unfortunate car accidents, when he inexplicably crashed into a barricade outside the Capitol in the middle of the night. It created quite the hullabaloo when police officers on the scene were forbidden to continue their investigation and the Congressman was taken home by the capitol police brass. After a series of attempts to ignore the incident, then explain it as a side effect of poorly-prescribed medications, Kennedy is now headed our way, to the Mayo Clinic, where he has checked himself in for drug rehab. The Washington Post has an interest piece about Kennedy's series of misfortunes.

Alas, it looks like the good Senator will be running unopposed. Good thing for him too, since he may not have his license to be driving around for a while.


Saving the Iowa Caucuses

The Hotline Blog is reporting that the RNC's summer meeting in Minneapolis, MN in August will include a Rules Committee meeting devoted entirely to discussing the 2012 Primary Calendar.

Iowa well be well represented by Steve Roberts, who is a member of the Rules Committee.

It's a long way off, but this is going to be critical. After watching the Democrats continue to mess with their system this year for 2008 (a topic I'll leave for another time, but I'll just say that I tend to agree with Nagle tha Iowa's Democrats lack of cooperation with NH has the potential of being a colossal mistake), there's a lot of people out there that would like to take Iowa's premiere place within our political system. Steve's gonna have his work cut out for him, but I hope that we'll show our party and the country in the upcoming months of the 2008 caucus campaign that we have a valuable role to play and that should be continued.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Bolkcom Votes Against Iowa City Seniors

Our own Senator Joe Bolkcom has managed once again to embarass himself while claiming to "represent" the people of Iowa City in Senate District 39.

Bolkcom managed to be one of the 4 State Senators who voted against giving tax breaks to Iowa senior citizens.

The tax breaks which had bipartisan support would gradually raise the level of exempted income for seniors from 9,000 for single filers and 13,500 for couples to 18,000 and 24,000 respectively for Iowans 65 and older in tax years 2007 and 2008.

After that the exempted income would rise to 24,000 and 32,000 respectively.

I would really love to see Sen. Bolkcom stand up before the senior citizens he claims to represent over at the Iowa City Senior Center or at communities like Oaknoll Retirement or Legacy Pointe and tell them why he feels they don't deserve a tax break.

Iowa's one of the few states in the country that STILL taxes Social Security income and pensions.

Democrats are the ones that are out there ranting about how seniors are having to choose between paying for medicine or food. Yet, we have a Democrat in Joe Bolkcom who's voting to keep taking more of our senior's income. What's really rich is that Sen. Bolkcom claims on his website that he wants to make Iowa's taxes "fairer and more progressive". Here

The current federal poverty guidelines are $9,800 for a single, 13,200 for a two person household. Iowa's current exemptions are just barely above these levels. Don't Iowa's seniors deserve better Sen. Bolkcom? Is it fair to tax seniors for income that they make barely above the poverty level? Especially income from Social Security and pensions that seniors have paid into for the majority of their lives?

Apparently for Joe, its more important to push legislation against car title loans and payday advance companies. I shudder to think what "priorities" Sen. Bolkcom would have if Democrats gain control of the Iowa Senate.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Secretary of Ag Race down to Leonard v. Northey?

Krusty is reporting that Secretary of Agriculture candidate Karey Claghorn will be dropping out of the race and endorsing Bill Northey tomorrow.

Haven't yet seen any official confirmation or media news reports, but I'll update here when I do.

UPDATE: It's official. Here's the 5/5/06 Des Moines Register story and the text of her e-mail to Republicans 5/4/06:

Dear Friend,

After much thought and debate, I've decided to suspend my campaign for Secretary of Agriculture and officially endorse Bill Northey and his campaign for Iowa's most important agricultural position.

This decision was a very difficult one. I've greatly enjoyed traveling across the state, meeting great people like you. It was a life-changing experience, one which I have learned a great deal from.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the support you've given me. I could never have made it this far without you. For that, I am greatly appreciative. I hope you support Bill's campaign with the energy that you've supported mine.

I really feel Bill and I complement each other. Bill's experience in production agriculture and national leadership in the commodity organizations coupled with my experience in the supermarket industry, agri-business and animal agriculture make for a great team.

I'm attaching the news release that was sent out for you to read if you'd like. Thank you again for all your support, and I ask you to vote for Bill Northey on June 6!



Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Romney to visit Iowa City

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will be visiting Iowa City next Monday (5/8). All Johnson County Republicans are invited to attend his stop at the University of Iowa campus:

Monday, May 8, 2006
Room S-401, Pappajohn Business Building
Downtown Iowa City

Best bet for parking will either be on the street or the IMU Garage (see the parking map)

This stop will be on the last day of a three-day visit to the area. On Sunday morning (5/7) he will be delivering the commencement address and receiving and honorary degree at Coe College. He will also be attending a house party in Cedar Rapids sponsored by the Iowa Christian Alliance on the evening of May 8th. And he is headlining a fundraiser for Congressman Jim Leach in Burlington. Also according to one source, he may be attending a Kernel's baseball game.

For those that can't make it, check back here for full details next week from one of our commentators.