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A string of unforced errors has led to what should be an interesting statewide call involving Republican county chairs, co-chairs and leaders from the Republican Party of Iowa.

Senator Joni Ernst voted in support of a bill that violates a significant platform plank within the Republican Party of Iowa platform. The (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act is a huge threat on multiple fronts. Ernst didn’t even need to vote for it, but did anyway.

She followed the steps of Representatives Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Miller-Meeks was censured by the Mahaska County GOP after supporting the bill. At that time, RPI chair Jeff Kaufmann told the media county chairs do not have the power to censure anyone — and neither does the Republican Party of Iowa.

There are a number of county chairs who haven’t taken too kindly to essentially being told to shut up and sit down. If Jeff Kaufmann were a wrestler, he’d be The Rock. And he’s basically addressing the GOP county chairs (Michael Cole) like this…

A number of county chairs have vented about frustrations with RPI recently, noting they cannot get access to a spreadsheet that contains the contact information for every county chair in the state from RPI.

It’s believable. As I travel the state, it’s clear the county central committees — most of them, not all, but most — are far more conservative than the Republican Party of Iowa is. And it isn’t even close. Stevie Wonder could see it from 100 miles away.

As the party of the people and small government, we should honor our county central committees and volunteers, not demean them. Elected officials put up a vote that goes against the party’s stated beliefs and values, then they get criticized by the people who helped them get elected.

Who gets in trouble? Not the elected officials who are causing the chaos, but the volunteers who put their blood, sweat, tears, time and treasure into winning a campaign and for what. For a little less liberal representation?

Who gets chided? The hard-working, grassroots county chairs. The people who should be celebrated. The people who the state party should be bending over backward for to keep happy. County chairs do a lot of thankless grunt work.

If anyone should have the green light to be critical of elected officials when they stray from the party platform, it is the people who essentially put together the platform and get those folks elected.

We don’t need a state party that goes all in for groupthink at the expense of principles. We need a state party that, when push comes to shove, is going to stand with “the people” and the principles of the party — not the elected elite.

We have seen, however, we don’t have that.

County central committees and county chairs should continue doing what they feel called to do — whether it is censuring Sen. Joni Ernst or not. They put in the time. They put in the work. They put in the dedication to win elections and their voice shouldn’t just be welcome, it should be appreciated. It should be amplified by the chairman, not stifled.

I have heard some concern the last few days from central committee chairs that the state party could try to pass something that would punish chairs and county central committees who speak out.

This would be an egregious overreach and abuse of power by the state party. On one hand, I almost hope they do it just so they show who they really are. But on the other hand, I know our county chairs, co-chairs and central committee members deserve to be treated so much better that I don’t want them to have to endure the wrath of the elite.

For those chairs and co-chairs joining the call tonight, they may want to have a bag of popcorn ready to go. It could be a good show.

If you are on a central committee or know someone who is, make sure you support and encourage your chair and co-chair a little more than usual through the next week or two. They need to know they have your support in doing the right thing — which is preserving whatever voice and influence your little county central committee has. Be proud of each other and stand for something — together, united.

You never know, if enough of you do it, it may just teach those elected elites something at the state-party level about party unity on the issues, values and beliefs of the party that matter most.

Author: Jacob Hall


  1. When I hear a political party elitist use the phrase “we need to unite” it is actually code speak for “you need to conform”. It is not just in Iowa where I’ve noticed this trend. I’ve noticed it in other states as well.

    Conformity is the objective of tyrants. The next time anyone hears “we need to unite” I would call them out what they really want is conformity. Maybe it will come in handy tonight.

  2. I agree she should be censored, but for far more than the Mary jacked! She should be censored for voting to give billions of dollars to Ukraine, first of all, they shouldn’t get it second of all there’s no oversight!!! she should also be censured for voting for red flag gun laws that is far worse than the marriage act!

  3. As a former County Chair, I can understand the frustration when candidates go out and vote contrary to party platform issues. I have a concern with censure being used the minute a candidate goes rogue.

    There’s an old saying in athletics that says “keep it in the locker room”. It doesn’t mean you don’t voice criticism of your teammates. It means you do it within the confines of the team’s community. Censure is a very public condemnation that should be saved for when a candidate or representative has gone off the reservation in a way that is tantamount to treason. (See Liz Cheney).

    I suspect if I know Chairman Kauffman, and I think I do, he isn’t going to tell the counties to “shut up and know their role”. He’s going to tell them to run their criticisms through the candidates’ channels and that debate can be had within the RPI community.

    It should be kept in mind that Eastern Iowa is a vastly different animal than Western Iowa, and retaining offices here means understanding what battles you can win and which you have to cede in order to win the war.

    Imagine Rep. Miller-Meeks campaigning in Johnson or Scott County on a platform of voting against marriage equality rights…I can pretty much guarantee you’ll have new Democrat representatives after the next election.

    You don’t have to agree with that, but if you don’t, voice those complaints through the candidate’s channels and RPI and have them explain the “why”. We are winning Iowa. We should enjoy that and make sure we’re working together to keep it going.


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