It is a tangled web we weave. We hear a lot of times from Republican Party leadership that Republican Party officials should “stay out of primaries.” The Party is to “remain neutral.” Yada. Yada. Yada.
And the party did that when conservative Congressman Steve King faced a primary challenge in 2020. Well, I’m not sure the party was “officially neutral,” but they certainly didn’t back the incumbent.
We’re told we don’t need term limits because we have term limits through elections. But when party leaders put their thumbs on the scales, do we really have term limits through primary elections?
Here is what some folks said about the primary challenge Steve King faced two years ago:
“I’ll stay out of the primary.” – Gov. Kim Reynolds
“Steve King needs to make a decision if he wants to represent the people and the values of the Fourth District or do something else. I think he needs to take a look at that.” – Gov. Kim Reynolds
“Primaries, we’re neutral; that’s the simple fact.” – Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann
David Kochel, who has been intimately involved with Iowa politics including Terry Branstad, Kim Reynolds, Joni Ernst, Ashley Hinson, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, certainly didn’t offer any hint of neutrality, essentially calling for the kill shot on King’s congressional run.
National figures such as Karl Rove and Congressman Steve Stivers supported King’s primary opponent.
Terry Branstad donated to King’s primary opponent in 2020.
Joni Ernst pledge not to endorse anyone in the primary race.
Fast forward to 2022, however, when Sen. Chuck Grassley is facing a primary, the party is doing all it can to ignore the challenge from State Sen. Jim Carlin.
Carlin turned in nearly 11,000 signatures on Wednesday to get on the ballot in June.
But it hasn’t stopped the congressional delegation or the governor from just ignoring the primary. Which is fine, but then the party shouldn’t pretend there’s a hint of neutrality in these primaries, because it is obvious there isn’t.
Do Iowans deserve to have a fair, legitimate primary that isn’t heavily influenced by other elected officials? I’d say so.
But is it what they’re getting? No.
I get that Republicans weren’t comfortable with some things the media said Steve King said over the years. I get it.
But those were words.
His words weren’t nearly as harmful as Grassley’s votes have been in the last couple of years — like voting to certify Joe Biden’s election, voting for Biden’s infrastructure bill, voting for Merrick Garland to be AG, voting for Pete Buttigieg to be Secretary of Transportation, saying he looked forward to the Joe Biden agenda, admitting that when Republicans control Congress they have to vote to raise the debt ceiling, etc.
I mean, Grassley literally has an ‘F’ when it comes to voting for liberty according to Mark Levin’s Conservative Review.
Yet the Iowa GOP powers clearly do not want him challenged.