Monday, July 31, 2006


Night of 99 Ideas in Johnson County

About a dozen Johnson County Republicans gathered at the home of Dorree Eckhoff to participate in Jim Nussle's statewide night of 99 ideas. We had some delicious treats and enjoyed conversation before opening things up with the welcome DVD. Then we joined in the statewide conference call with Jim and Karen Nussle and Bob and Darla Vander Plaats -- each at a different location around the state.

After the call, we spent about an hour going around the room to share our ideas. We had some interesting thought-provoking conversations. Some of the ideas shared included:

* Put Health Savings Accounts better into practice within the state
* Reduce the number of counties in the state
* Improve the educational curriculum to focus on "getting back to the basics"
* Help smaller cities (10-20k) revitalize with new businesses
* Develop better mass-transit within the state, including rail service from Omaha to Chicago and better air transportation, especially in eastern Iowa airports
* Reduce regulation and legal expenses for doctors so that they can practice medicine with the interests of the patient, instead of fear in mind
* Focus on selling family-friendly attractions instead of Casinos

We were also visited by a reporter from the Cedar Rapids Gazette (where was the local Press Citizen?) -- so stay tuned for any press coverage.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the Gazette Story.

If you don't want to listen to it, you can read more about the conference call on Krusty. Thanks to everyone who came out, and if you missed out, be sure to submit your ideas online.

Friday, July 28, 2006


County Fair Wraps Up

Last night, the Johnson County Fair wrapped up for another year. Four days of great fun and hard work. Thanks to all of the volunteers and candidates who helped work the booth or stopped by. The photo above shows State Rep. Sandy Greiner (L) and Iowa City resident Betty Kirchner (R), signing up petition signatures one evening at the booth. (Sandy spent much of the week with us at the fair and we appreciate all her time!)

The fair was a great success -- we spread the word about our candidates to hundreds of visitors each day and we recruited dozens of new volunteers to help out with our efforts this fall. Now, with the summer almost over, the campaign season will be kicking into high gear. Posted by Picasa


RAGBRAI welcomed to Johnson County by Nussle & Leach

RAGBRAI rolled into Johnson County this morning, and volunteers for Jim Nussle's campaign for governor and Jim Leach's congressional campaign were there to meet them. The Nussle campaign organized a water station, giving away free bottles of ice-cold water to the riders passing by. (PHOTO ABOVE: Leah Adams hands a water bottle to a cow riding past)

It was a gorgeous (though hot and muggy) day, and it was great fun to greet riders from across the state. We got lots of cheers, made some new friends, and showed some good Republican hospitality. The riders have come to look forward to seeing the green signs across the state -- the campaign has been organizing water stops every day of RAGBRAI. Today, we were set up shortly after one of the steepest hills of the entire route.

(PHOTO RIGHT: Larry Ihde, field representative for Jim Leach hands water to a RAGBRAI rider)

Several riders remembered seeing Jim and Karen Nussle, who rode the first day's route. Tomorrow, Bob and Darla Vander Plaats will be riding the final day of the route -- so keep an eye out for their appearance in Coralville!

Thanks to everyone else who showed up to help too, including Dorree Eckhoff, Carol Ann Christiansen, Chuck Seberg, Sam Langholz, and Paul Behrend -- many of whom are pictured below, as well as Brian DiDonato with the Nussle Campaign. Also a special thanks to Chuck Klein for letting us camp out in front of his home and to his grandaughter who helped hand out water.

Here's a few more photos -- you can click on each picture to view it larger:

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Allison to drop out of SOS Race

Rumors were percolating over on Krusty's Comments about Republican Secretary State Candidate Chuck Allison ending his campaign. This morning, the Des Moines Register confirmed that Allison will be announcing the end of his race, citing personal issues.

I hear that one item on the agenda of the upcoming state central committee is "nominating conventions." Expect that we will be reconvening the state delegates to choose a new nominee. Bob Dopf anyone? Then again, with a convention, anything is possible.

That's what I get for trying to jot off a quick message before heading off to work without checking my facts. My understanding is that the state party has until August 18 to select a new candidate and still get the name on all the ballots, and the State Central Committee will be the entity making the selection.

Gazette reports the following names considering a bid: Paul Pate, former Secretary of State and former Cedar Rapids Mayor; Bill Dix, former state representative and congressional candidate; Gentry Collins, former RPI Executive Director. Except for Krusty, doesn't appear that Bob Dopf is getting much traction.

If I get a chance, I'll post a bit more about Paul Pate, for those of us, who's memories have trouble going back eight years to when he was last in statewide office.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Dvorsky Pleads Guilty

Well, the Press-Citizen appears to be only a couple days late in sharing the news, but Democrat Senator Bob Dvorsky finally pled guilty to his Drunk Driving conviction on July 20. He received a deferred judgment -- as long as he doesn't have another run-in with the law in the next year, the charge will be cleared from his record.

According to the Court Records (search for Dvorsky in Polk County here), it looks like he was gearing up for a fight, filing a motion to supress the evidence just earlier this month.


Missing Pictures?

So . . . did you miss seeing one of our local candidates at a recent parade? Need to put a face with the names you've been reading about or hearing from your friends?

Never say this this commenator doesn't listen to the back-seat bloggers. I've dug back through the photo archives of our marathon of parades and am posting a few never-before-seen images that didn't make it on the first-time around. As directors are fond of saying on deleted-scenes DVD audio commentaries, "these were some of my favorite shots -- it was sad to see them end up on the cutting room floor, and I'm glad that they're now getting this chance to see the light of day. . . "

State House Candidate Emma Nemecek (left), along with her Campaign Manager Tim DeMuth (center) and Linn County GOP Chair Dan Abolins (right) getting ready for the Oxford Parade on July 4th.

County Supervisor Candidate Rich Benn in his always-snazzy car, along the parade route in Tiffin on July 1st.

County Supervisor Candidate Alan Curry, and his son, walking in the Tiffin Parade.

Don't currently have any parade photos for our othe Republican legislators -- gonna have to stay tuned for coming attractions.


Johnson County Fair Kicks Off

After several hours of hard work by over a dozen volunteers who showed up to help set up the booth Sunday afternoon (see the "before" picture to the left, taken part of the way through the afternoon, after the panels had been hung), the Johnson County Fair kicked off on Monday.

Leah Adams and Dorree Eckhoff (far left and far right in the photo above), the Fair Booth Committee Co-Chairs, have done a fabulous job so far decorating, organizing volunteers, and keeping everything going smoothly.

The fair will be continuing until this Thursday, July 27, so come and visit us. Pick up yard signs, literature, bumper stickers, enter for our door prizes, including a state-wide drawing for tickets to the Iowa vs. Iowa State football game, here in Iowa City this year!

We are also displaying a patriotic tribute to our troops, shown below:

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Republicans Join Solon Beef Days Parade

Today marked the Sixth Parade of the summer season for the Johnson County Republicans, when they joined Solon to celebrate the 35th annual Solon Beef Days. (As an aside, Beef Days is a fabulous small-town festival -- you can learn more than you ever wanted to know at their website).

We had a great crowd of volunteers showing their support for all the Republican candidates, including Congressman Jim Leach who was present and walking in the parade.

PHOTO RIGHT: Congressman Leach visiting with Johnson County Republican Leah Adams.

We are also surprised by the appearance of a 2008 Presidential hopeful, Illinois Businessman John Cox. He was joined by three staff members. Cox walked the parade, introducing himself while his staff passed out literature. By the end of the route I think I could have stood in for him: "I'm John Cox. I'm running for President. There are too many career politicians in Washington." He can stay on message.

He seemed like a nice enough guy -- as a former county chair, he was very interested in helping this year with grassroots party-building and as a former executive with a potato chip company, I learned that there's nothing better than a fresh potato chip right after its been fried. Gotta love living in Iowa.

PHOTO RIGHT: Cox beginning the parade and visiting with a Solon resident.

PHOTO BELOW: Cox visiting after the parade Leach volunteer/ Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Sarah Henderson.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Hillary Clinton attacks Secretaries of State Running for Governor

While campaigning in Ohio last week, Hillary Clinton said some strange things that her good friend Chet Culver should find disturbing. It seems she doesn't think Secretaries of State should be allowed to run for higher office.

Here's one AP Story:

Without naming him, Clinton suggested on the last day of ACORN's national convention that Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has a conflict of interest in running the bellwether state's next election because he is running for governor.

"That should not permitted," Clinton said, to screams and cheers from the crowd.
The New York senator urged ACORN members "don't let anyone pull anything over your eyes again."

and some more from another:

"I know that year was a problem here in Ohio and I hope, everybody
from Ohio, you watch this election like a hawk," Clinton told the gathering.
"Don't let them pull anything over your eyes again.
I mean, I find it
amazing that one of the people running for high office is actually running the elections. That should not be permitted
Either somebody forgot to tell the good Senator that several Democrat Secretaries of State, including our own Chet Culver, are running for Governor this year, or else she's trying to tell us something. The irony is, as the article points out, Ohio's elections are primarily administered by local bipartisan county boards anyway, and none of the Democrats claims of irregularties in 2004 have been found to have any merit.

Then again, given that Chet Culver has already shown that he's willing to put partisan interests above his official responsibilities, when he refused to release the election results on 2004, in an attempt to gain partisan advantage, perhaps Senator Clinton has a point. Perhaps we should be watching like a hawk with Chet and his cronies, Mike Mauro in Polk County and Tom Slockett here in Johnson County and the other machine Democrats in charge of our elections.

UPDATE: So, apparently, I'm a little slow on the trigger, and this all actually happened last week ... I could have sworn that I read something this Monday that made it sound like it had just occured. Radio Iowa got Culver to comment, and Iowa Ennui has some good posts. Also, check out National Review Online.


The Des Moines Register has its head up its rear-end

Many Republicans have moments when they flip through their morning papers and think to themselves, "What is this writer trying to pull?" This was probably the case if you were looking at the DMR last Thursday when the editorial board came up with this gem:
"Recall that the last time the Democrats controlled Congress, they produced healthy budget surpluses that put the country on a path toward paying down the national debt."
Surely a misprint, right? As you will recall, the balanced budgets around the turn of the century were a product of the ground work of Newt Gingrich and the Gang of Seven (which included a young Congressman Jim Nussle) leading up to and including the Republican Revolution of 1994. Well a number of letter writers called the Register on this error. The sometimes insightful, always vulgar State 29 caught it. Chet Culver's own Chris Woods even realized there was an error.

But does the Register admit its mistake? From today's paper:
We’ll stand by our assertion.

It’s true that Republicans happened to hold majorities in Congress in the late 1990s, when a budget surplus was finally achieved, but they weren’t responsible for it.
Pretty outrageous stuff, eh?

In tomorrow's Register, read about how Johnson went to China, reviving trade and diplomatic relations and how Jimmy Carter won the Cold War.

Hat tip to the insightfully vulgar State 29.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Daily Iowan Prints Democrat Talking Points

I have been derelict in my duty in not posting this sooner, but as many may not take the time to read the Daily Iowan, I thought it was still worth while to be sure you heard about this.

First, I have to say that for the past year, I have actually been quite impressed with the Daily Iowan. They seemed to be genuinely interested in putting together objective pieces and covered a number of our Republican events quite well. As I've been reading the paper this summer though, it really seems like they've taken a downturn -- the reports of dem visits read glowingly, while they devoted the reports of republican visits to attacks by college democrats. And their opinion page has been particularly bad -- I've almost given up making my way through it, because I always feeling like I might as well be reading Democrat talking points.

Thing is, turns out I was reading Democrat talking points. The paper announced this week that one of their columns was actually "largely plagiarized from a report released June 29 by the Democratic Policy Committee." To their credit, they promptly fired the columnist, John Heineman, who also had an apology printed in the paper.

Not to diminish the plagiarism itself, I think the truly sad thing is that the Democrat talking points didn't look out of place -- it's what we've come to expect from the liberal media.

Though the Iowa blogosphere has been strangely silent, the rest of the world, including Fox News has been quite a buzz, check out some of the other takes on this affair including: Brit Hume, NewsBusters, Army Post Road, Regret the Error,


A few more additions ...

When I took the time to add the RPI Blog to the iowa blog roll, I also added two other new conservative iowa blogs, that I have enjoyed reading recently. If you have not yet checked them out, do so -- I hope they both keep up:

Caucus Cooler - focused on providing an "insider's perspective" to the 2008 Republican Caucuses. It's only been online for a week, but so far an interesting read.

The Real Sporer - written by the Polk County GOP Chair and state central committee member Ted Sporer, the posts have been a bit sporadic so far, but I hear that he's a busy guy, and we're particularly excited to have another county gop-focused blog. The most current post as I write, includes the interesting news that Polk County will be holding a special nominating convention to nominate candidates for several house seats, county treasurer and county recorder (in which the democrat was recently ousted in the primary). What a great sign of a vibrant party!

Saturday, July 15, 2006


RPI Launches Blog

The Republican Party of Iowa announced the launch of an official party blog. From the site:
This blog will give a from the field view of happenings in Iowa Politics.
Including what's going on with our 2006 races, 2008 candidates as we approach
the Iowa Caucuses, and the hot issues on the campaign trail with postings from
Chairman Ray Hoffmann, staff and candidates.

They must have seen how much fun we were having here in Johnson County in the blogosphere. It'll be interesting to see how it develops. I wonder if Ray Hoffmann will be as actively involved as his colleague, MI GOP Chair Saul Anuzis, who sets the bar high with his insightful and prolific writing on one of the best party blogs.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Leach hard at work: Passes Bill in House, Supports Iowa City

Congressman Jim Leach, who only last week was completing a marathon of parades around Johnson County and the rest of the district, has wasted no time hitting the ground running in DC, now that Congress is back in session.

Today, the House passed his bill, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, by a broad bipartisan margin, 317-93. We've noted before the attention he's been geting about his efforts, and there's another story in the Washington Post about passage.

If securing passage of his bill to protect our families and our homeland wasn't enough for one day, he also sent off a letter to President Bush asking for reconsideration of the government's decision not to provide FEMA assistance to Iowa City. I particularly like his last paragraph:

Iowa City has responded as prudentially and forthrightly as any
community could. The request of the state may still seem only minimally above
the necessary disaster triggering level but this is because Iowans are maximally
conservative on cost estimates. Katrina-like scandals will not emerge in Iowa

I for one, and proud to have Congressman Leach, hard at work for us in Washington.


Vilsack's Veto: Time to Override

This week, state legislators will be meeting in a Special Session in Des Moines to attempt a historic override of Governor Vilsack's veto of eminent domain reform legislation.

When Governor Vilsack vetoed this legislation a couple of months ago, he vetoed a bill that had the support of over 80 members of the Iowa House and over 40 members of the Senate. The bill had major bipartisan support from our legislators. That is except, for the Johnson County Democratic Party legislators.

that's right, all of the Johnson County Democrat legislators (except for Vicki Lensing, who failed to vote on the bill at all), voted AGAINST the protection of the private property rights of Iowa citizens.

What is extremely interesting to note however, is that these legislators are voting against principles that the Johnson County Democratic Party and Iowa Democratic Party platforms both call for. So, not only are these legislators and the Governor standing against Iowans, they're standing against their own political party!

Our own Rep. Jeff Kauffman will be floor managing the eminent domain legislative override effort in the Iowa House on July 14th. Jeff has asked all of us here in Johnson County who support protecting private property rights to contact these legislators here in Johnson County to tell them to stand up and support this all important legislation.

An override of Governor's veto has not occurred in Iowa since 1963. More importantly, this will send a clear message to the Governor that Iowan's private property rights MUST be protected.

This is an issue that transcends political parties and/or liberal/conservative differences. Protecting private property rights are something that all citizens should stand up for.

However, we say this to those who chose to stand against the override legislation this week: They do so at their own elective peril. Iowans are watching this issue VERY closely and will not hesitate to vote out any legislator who chooses to stand with the Governor on this issue.

So again, we ask all citizens in Johnson County and elsewhere in the state to contact their state legislator and tell them to support the override legislation!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Where does Loebsack Stand? With Pelosi & DNC

I've written before that a vote for Dave Loebsack is a vote for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her left-wing San Francisco values, but even I am surprised at how closely Loebsack is cloning his campaign in the image of Pelosi and Howard Dean.

You see, if you should want to learn"Where Dave Stands," you really only need visit Nancy Pelosi's website. Take a look at each of the "Additional Issues" listed in a box on the right side of the screen. It appears that he has cut and pasted several pages of his issue statements directly from Nancy Pelosi's website -- his agendas for Latinos and African-Americans. At least he did bother to put a citation at the bottom saying that it was produced by Nancy Pelosi -- one even includes a link offering to sign you up for Pelosi's newsletter. (This is better than our good friend Chet did when plagiarizing from Jim Nussle last month)

If that's not bad enough -- if you want to know Loebsack's agenda for Iowa Familes, it's authored by DNC Research! Why in the world should someone who wants to represent IOWANS in DC turn to researchers for the DNC to learn about what families in Iowa need?

I guarantee you that our Congressman, Jim Leach, doesn't look to DC insiders in deciding what he believes. He has nearly 30 years of experience listening to Iowans and being an independent and thoughtful representative of OUR interests in DC.

Loebsack is fond of saying that he would be "our voice for change" -- but seems he really wants to be a voice for Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean.


Governor Asleep-at-the-switch has an empty catch phrase

O. Kay Henderson has a (rather starry-eyed) post about the Vilsacks and their new catch phrase that implies Traveling Tom has "changed the landscape" of our state.

Tom Vilsack might have been able to claim that he "changed the landscape" by allowing bulldozers to destroy the homes, farms, and small businesses of regular Iowans for the benefit of a few well-connected developers or corporations. The governor's veto of the (nearly unanimous) eminent domain reform bill would have absolutely changed the landscape. Some legacy. With the quick action of the Republicans (and frankly, even many of the Democrats) in the Iowa legislature, the veto is unlikely to stand.

PS - Does anyone know if Culver has figured out eminent domain yet? (See Culver supports eminent domain veto, would've signed it into law, by the aforementioned O. Kay Henderson on Friday, June 16, 2006, 3:37 PM)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Parades! Parades! Parades!

I managed to break away from the ice baths and aloe vera gel to post a quick update and share some photos. This commentator neglected to properly deck out in sunscreen and is now suffering the consequences of spending 8 hours out in the sun on a gorgeous 4th of July.

The day started out with the 2-1/2 mile Coralville Parade. Below, you can see the crew getting ready to start with march, and a few of the homemade signs supporting Jim Nussle and Jim Leach. We were joined by State House candidate Emma Nemecek, and Supervisor Candidate Rich Benn. Congressman Jim Leach was also walking in the parade -- but he had an entry and dozens of volunteers up closer to the front of the route, presumably so that he could continue on his rounds around the district.

As the photo below shows, somehow we ended up only one entry away from the Johnson County Democrats. With the exception of a man walking around us with a "Peace is Patriotic" sign, however, the kept to themselves -- so not any interesting stories to share. You can also see the lucky entry, a very friendly Christian School, that got to separate us.

After a short break to grab lunch, the hearty souls reassembled in Oxford for the second parade of the day.

And after a jaunt down to the other end of the county, we finished the day with an evening parade in Hills. This was a classic small-town parade, much of it through a residential neighborhood with folks watching from their porches. County Supervisor Candidate Alan Curry joined us, after having spent his morning at the Sharon Center parade. It was also great to see State Representative Sandy Greiner and State Senator David Miller, who represent much of southern Johnson County as Republicans in the legislature. The photo below capture two of the hearty souls who stayed with us the entire day, Dr. Hanes Swingle and Randy Crawford.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Leach in NY Times for Efforts to End Internet Gambling

Congressman Jim Leach was recently featured in a New York Times article about his efforts to ban internet gambling. We've heard about his efforts in his speeches to the District and State Republican conventions, so it was interesting to see the press picking it up.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Republicans Help Tiffin Celebrate Centennial

The Johnson County Republicans started off the 4th of July Weekend by joining the community of Tiffin for their centennial celebration parade Saturday morning. You can read more about the festivities in the Press-Citizen. More pictures from the parade follow below.
Our long caravan started, as always, with the trusty Johnson County Republicans banner, carried in the PHOTO BELOW by Treasurer Chuck Seberg and new county resident Scott James, followed by volunteers for Congressman Jim Leach and Jim and Margaret McDonald's car decked out in Leach signs:

Congressman Jim Leach joined us walking the parade route. In the PHOTO BELOW you can also see Dale Petersen's truck decked out with all county Republican signs; Rich Benn, candidate for County Supervisor in his yellow car; Alan Curry, candidate for County Supervisor and his family, and Emma Nemecek, Candidate for State House in her golf cart:

Dale Petersen, Co-Chair of the Johnson County GOP drives his truck, decorated with Republican yard signs (PHOTO BELOW):