One of the best parts of my job as your Chairman is the opportunity to explain what we do and why we do it. One of those questions was recently posed on an earlier thread.
Anonymous said... Ted, why run good Republicans to the slaughter? No way in Hades do we beat Oldson, Haggerty, Maloney, Connolly, Hockensmith or either Mauro. Why not use our collective energy to elect Nussle and Lamberti? Just putting people in place to run against entrenched Dems seems stupid as they will wake up and raise money and get their bases out. Just my 2 cents.
Well, Anon-here’s your answer.
First, I’m a big believer that the operational definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. We’ve never tried to run hard in Polk County local elections and several of the legislative seats contained within Polk County and here’s the results:
1996 Clinton/Dole 83,877/60,889 -22,988
Harkin/Lightfoot 87,653/68,099 -19,544
1998 Osterberg/Grassley 43,498/81,972 +38,474
Vilsack/Lightfoot 74,475/50,342 -24,133
2000 Gore/Bush 89,715/79,927 -9,788
2002 Vilsack/Gross 79,785/59,408 -20,377
Harkin/Ganske 79,774/60,119 -19,655
2004 Kerry/Bush 105,218/95,828 -9,390
Small/Grassley 62,183/132,900 +70,717
Regardless of the top of the ticket performance in Polk County and Iowa generally we have consistently produced large deficits in the largest county. While we write off significant portions of the electorate in heavily populated areas for lack of trying the Democrats campaign hard in the same areas to run up their state wide vote totals. Compare the size of a Polk County Supervisor District with the size of the median Iowa county and I think you’ll begin to get some idea of the areas we have traditionally ignored. Why do you think McCoy, Oldson, Ako, Mauro and Connolly will be idle if they are unopposed? History shows that they will be working their tails off to run up the votes and campaign in other areas for other candidates.
It’s looking pretty clear that we are going to have a low turnout general election this year, similar to 1998 and 2002 rather than high turn out elections like 2000 and 2004. Both parties have experienced unusually low participation this year. Should we assume that 2006, a year in which the winds don’t seem to be at our backs nationally, will change that trend, even with an exceptionally good gubernatorial candidate and a more unified party?
So, I don’t think that what we were doing was working. It seems pretty obvious that we have to find ways to grow the party, which is the definition of the party chairman's job, and secure a larger share of the vote in new areas. The previous off year elections haven’t produced new voters in new areas of the county because locals who aren't motivated by the top of the ticket don't vote. So, I say, let's give them something immediate and tangible for which to vote.
CIETC has become a metaphor for decades of corrupt Democrat machine politics. Those of us who are long time residents are repulsed by the Democrat behavior. The payoffs to Ako, the big union bonanza last month, the consulting contracts-it’s all reaching critical mass in the local electorate and is constantly in the local media. The state's top radio audiences and biggest newspaper audience are treated to a little Democrat scandal every day, on Deace and Michelson for hours a day. Best of all-they are all Democrat scandals because Republicans have had nothing to do with any of political carcinomas in the Capitol City. This corruption is restaurant and water cooler talk-what the real people and not just we political hacks discuss in their every day relationships. That's a culture change guys!
We also don't have any evidence that there is a significant base of support for the local Democrat machine that isn't already voting in these off year elections. These local Polk County Democrats rarely have to campaign so why assume the existence of some reservoir of popularity out there that trumps this, to borrow a phrase “culture of corruption” that has made so many voters angry? Do you think those 7000 names on Pete Rose's petitions, almost all of which come from the Connolly, Mauro and Hockensmith Supervisor Districts, aren't motivated to clean up the Polk County/City of DSM mess? Most of those people are Democrats, so do you think the mere presence of a Republican candidate for supervisor or the legislature will overcome their anger? Similarly, how many Republicans have stayed home on election day because they perceive no immediate change in their daily lives. History reveals that we leave a lot of votes in the drawer in off year elections. The last election provides some evidence that taking the fight into new parts of the county increases the total Republican turnout. Now we have unpopular and un-trusted incumbents up their elbows in scandal after scandal. We are being presented with a once in the life time opportunity to shake the electorate in the most voter rich real estate in the state.
I figure if we’re going to lose the county by 20-25,000 votes, and write off all of the local races, we might as well do it by a different road and try to win some local races. One thing is certain, if we don't try we most certainly won't win and we won't motivate the stay at homes that might respond to a local race.
So Anon, my challenge to you is to get on board and let’s try and, to borrow another Anon poster’s phrase-“trickle up”. Let’s help those campaigns on Des Moines’ north side and the south of Grand races and especially the east suburbs. Every new vote we drag out is a new vote we wouldn’t have otherwise had. Every minute of time John Mauro spends campaigning is a minute he’s not campaigning for Mike. Connolly can’t raise money for Hockensmith, etc…. All of those additional Republican households will have a Republican candidate and talk about the local Democrat legislative delegation voting to support the Vilsack veto. Jim, Bob and Jeff aren't going to go door to door south of Grand but Nick Van Patten and Dave Payer will, and think of all of those 1/2 and 2/2 households that might be prompted to vote by a knock on the door instead of a TV commercial or radio ad. It just an extension of the manpower base in a very cost and time effective manner. The Democrats figured this out years ago. What do you think it will do for turnout if every Republican and non party house gets a visit from a live Republican candidate?
So how about you and me, and a few hundred more ticked off Republicans, march out there and get a few thousand more of the off year stay-at-homes to vote to clean up their city and county, or unseat the likes of Matt McCoy and Jo Oldson who are freakishly liberal and I’ll bet those new voters punch a straight Republican ticket to go along with it.