62 votes

Report from an Iowa GOP district convention and some helpful suggestions

As pleased and proud as I was about my wife being elected to the state nominating committee, that wasn't the best news to come out of our convention. The best news was how we overcame adversity and still pulled off multiple victories.

You see, just before our convention, there was a leak of the names of Ron Paul supporters running for various offices.

There was also an anonymous robocall that went out to the delegates warning them not to allow the convention to be "recessed" as called for on the agenda. (Normally the district conventions reconvene at the site of the state convention and that is where and when their national delegates are elected.) The reasons were confusing and even the Ron Paul people weren't sure who the call came from. My guess is that it was disinformation from the establishment that was afraid that by June, if Romney had the nomination sewn up, only the Ron Paul delegates would bother to show up giving him an advantage.

Apparently that is exactly the battle that developed at another Iowa convention:


Jamie Johnson, a 4th District delegate from Webster County, explained.

"There's a legitimate concern statewide that if the delegates are all chosen in mid-June only the diehard people will drive down to nominate delegates," Johnson said Saturday. "The general concern is that the deck will be stacked by Ron Paul supporters."

He said that in the previous two presidential election cycles, the delegates for the national convention have been chosen on the night before the state convention.

The concern is that when a roll call is taken at the national convention, many of Iowa's delegates would then vote for Ron Paul rather than the nominee apparent, Mitt Romney.

"It's because of this rabid followership of Ron Paul supporters," Johnson said.

At our convention no one objected to the agenda calling for a "recess", but there WAS a battle over another proposed rule change.

One of our state central committee members, Monte, was the temporary chair and opened our convention with a motion to change the rules so that only nominees receiving a 51% majority could be elected. The rules proposed by our district rules committee would have allowed election by a "plurality". In other words, if eight people were running for four positions, we couldn't just declare the four nominees with the highest vote count as the winners.

The idea was obviously aimed at minimizing the strength of a group of delegates voting as a block.

From a news article the day before:

Watch for a move in the 3rd District, which includes Polk County, to change the rules that allow the election of state central committee members by a simple plurality rather than a majority.
If, for example, there are eight candidates running for four seats, a candidate could get elected with less than 20 percent of the votes.
“There is no legitimacy in that,” Monte Shaw, a state central committee member who is not seeking re-election, wrote in an email to fellow Republicans.
“I honestly don’t know which candidates will be helped or hurt by insisting on majority rule. But I do know it is the right thing to do!"

That last statement was complete, 100% USDA prime BS. Monte knew full well that the Ron Paul supporters would be the only candidates hurt by the change. I know Monte well enough to know that "fairness" isn't what keeps him up at night.

Unfortunately, the motion passed by a narrow margin. As a result most of the elections ended up running into multiple ballots adding hours onto an already grueling process. We also ended up running out of our first set of ballots and had to tear the last ballot of the second batch in half in order to finish the last election of the day.

Well before that, most of the people who had voted for the new rule had changed their mind. But a vote to SUSPEND the rule required a 2/3 majority and we couldn't quite get that many votes.

A slate of candidates had been communicated to our delegates for a couple of the key races but we had to make some last minute changes and additions for the "minor" races (like rules and credentials committee).
I won't go into detail about how that was done. Let's just say that it worked well enough.

A rising tide of Republicans who share Ron Paul’s philosophy of limited government are flooding into GOP party roles in Iowa.

Like the anti-abortion movement and tea partiers that made inroads into GOP politics here in recent years, Paul loyalists want to send a message to party leaders, the governor, the state Legislature and the nation, they said Saturday.

Six of the new Iowa GOP state central committee members elected at district conventions Saturday have publicly expressed support for Paul, a libertarian-leaning presidential candidate: Dave Cushman, John Kabitzke, Joel Kurtinitis, Marcus Fedler, Jeff Shipley and Kris Thiessen.

And as for the other critical race for nominating committee:

Paul loyalists did well in getting their supporters onto the GOP’s “state nomination committee,” which will nominate Iowa’s 13 at-large national delegates. Another 12 delegates will be selected June 15. The GOP chairman and Iowa’s two Republican National Committee members are also delegates.

One woman was elected to the central committee Saturday. That makes just two women on the board including Iowa’s Republican National Committeewoman, Kim Lehman.

I'll give you three guesses who that other woman was. :-)

To summarize, what you need to win at a convention like ours is:

1) Delegates - you gotta have the numbers, baby.
2) Candidates - delegates willing and able to step up to the plate and run for office. Preferably they should look good and smell good. They should not have made a lot of enemies by shooting off their mouth. Ideally, (at least for crucial offices) they should have been vetted and selected by the campaign.
3) Preparation - mailers and flyers for the major races. Glossy and color-printed if you can afford it. Helpers to put them on the chairs and/or hand them out. A nominating speech (within the expected time limit) and someone to deliver it.
4) Organization - hopefully the campaign will provide leadership for you. If they do, don't muck their plans up by trying to submit your own slates. Try to coordinate with them. Volunteer if you can. Keep your mouth shut about goals and strategy and candidates. For some people this is probably the hardest thing to do.
5) Experience/Intelligence - Know thy enemy. This is where having experienced leadership helps. For example, I didn't need to understand Monte's proposed rule change to know that it wouldn't be in our favor. Why? Because I know Monte.
6) Communication - Be creative. Again, hopefully this will be handled by the campaign. But remember, assume that anything you send in an email or post on the Internet WILL be read by your opponents (Hi, Monte!) and used against you at some point.
7) Don't spread yourself too thin - I had this lesson driven home again during this convention. I was our county chairman. As such I was running back and forth between the secretary and our delegation, counting ballots, and trying to coordinate the voting of the RP delegates. (By the end of the day, even the neutral, non-RP delegates were turning to me for advice about who to vote for. Sometimes it pays to be a nice guy.) But I had also been elected to the District platform committee which convened over lunch in a separate room. Meanwhile the convention reconvened and Mrs. Spacehabitats had to act as my replacement on the floor. I almost missed her nomination speech!?!

Anyway, I hope this helps.
Enjoy the process, learn from your mistakes, and never, EVER give up!

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Here is a link to the seconde article.

"Conflicts possible during GOP district conventions"


I tried to insert the link when I wrote it but it wasn't working for some reason. Google the title if it doesn't work for you.

The Virtual Conspiracy

Here is the link to the last quoted article.

I don't know why it wouldn't work before. Maybe it will now.


The article is "Ron Paul backers sweep into GOP party roles in Iowa".
You can Google it if the link doesn't work.

The Virtual Conspiracy

Swamp Fox ...

... Finesse.

And thank you to all you fellow sharpshooters sniping for Paul and our patriot cause.

Thanks for the great job

Also anywhere you go please have many of these printed out and on hand:


Thanks for posting

There was definitely an organized push to make major changes to the rules at each convention - to elect delegates that day and to make elections require a majority. The establishment caused quite a stir in the 4th and delayed things for a long time, but cooler heads prevailed. Fortunately, we had tradition and common sense on our side. On the majority thing, most people who weren't part of the faction just said "that will take too long" and on the delegates it was "we've always done it that way."

On the timing of the delegate voting, they really overplayed their hand. They send robocalls before and speakers during convention to claim that "some people" want to hold a "secret meeting," but anyone who's been through the process at least once knows that's simply how its done and the meeting is anything but a secret, every state delegate is contacted and made aware of it.

Good points

One thing to note, the "establishment" aren't as numerous as people think. Most of the rank and file delegates are fairly neutral about these things. Yeah there are some stinkers (and we had a few in our county delegation) who are backstabbers, hypocrites, and generally anti-liberty.

But the more there are of us the less comfortable they will be and the less they will be able to maneuver with impunity. The few RP supporters we had on the central committee already cramped their style to some degree. Otherwise we would have been seeing things like they have been doing in other states.

The Virtual Conspiracy

Haha! It's a double edge sword they play with

On the one side, using every media outlet to purport that The race is a done deal does the psychological manipulation they intend and people forget about Paul.

On the other side, what they say is false and Paul is a real threat to them, scaring the hell out of them in fact. Their choice to use the media to call the race over and dupe the people might mess them up in the long run by people not bothering to vote....why should they? The glowing box told them the race is over, romney won already. lol

It will be interesting to watch the what level they will stoop! Keep informing others! Go Ron Paul!


Yeah we did well yesterday. Based upon the information you have here, I'm 99% I voted for your wife. Is she by any chance Mrs. Nancy Spacehabitat?

Please keep us informed what happens with the nominating committee. Do they decide if your wife vs Kim Lehman who goes as the female central committee rep? I hope she gets it!

Guh that was so obnoxious with the 51% rule on candidates. That took FOREVER.

Pottawattamie County Iowa

"Capitalism should not be condemned, since we haven't had capitalism." -Dr. Ron Paul

Oops, I messed up.

The quote about the nominating committee goes on to talk about the CENTRAL committee. Nancy is NOT on the central committee with Ms. Lehman (yet). The woman they are referring to must be Kris Thiesen who apparently is also a Ron Paul Republican.

I got confused and ended up confusing you. Sorry.

The Virtual Conspiracy

You guessed it.

Her name IS Nancy Spacehabitats. Thanks for your vote and for being there for everything else.
Your comment about 99% makes me wonder. Were you aware of ALL of the candidates, or just the original slate?
Some of my experiences yesterday make me think that not all of our people were "plugged in", if you know what I mean.

The Virtual Conspiracy

I was at the 3rd district convention with you guys!

i told the other guy, just message me and i will inform you guys how we kept people "in the loop" the reason mark hanson won WAS because we got the word out. you need to contact me in case we do the same thing at state convention. oh and one more thing, are you guys by any chance the family that drives the "constitution coach"?

No coach, just a white minivan.

But we were packed.

The Virtual Conspiracy

You are right.

I don't want to tear at the campaign, but frankly I feel if Ron Paul gets the nomination it will be because of the tenacity of the grassroots... The fact that we didn't know who the RP candidates were irked me. There was the 'constitutional conservative' list that didn't even have every RPer on there. I know for a fact that for example Mark Hansen should have been on that slate for rules committee, but he just wasn't on there. He won anyhow, but that is beside the point :)

Anyhow we did great, but we could have better. We were told the campaign was going to contact us, but it never happened.

Not sure how late you stayed but I was the tall red head with a short beard that got up at the end to speak against the 100% party platform agreement rule.

Pottawattamie County Iowa

"Capitalism should not be condemned, since we haven't had capitalism." -Dr. Ron Paul

I laughed so hard

when you got up to tell everyone basically how dumb they were for supporting first amendment made, and then contradicting themselves by supporting to suspend the rule change. They of course didn't get it, because they are sheep and followed Monte's smooth words and sneaky ways. That Monte, what a weasle! Regardless, we outsmarted and are by far more engaged than they can control. :) Great job to my fellow Iowans, we had a GREAT day!



That however was not me. I wish I had gone up there to say that. It was a stupid amendment that only wasted time.

Pottawattamie County Iowa

"Capitalism should not be condemned, since we haven't had capitalism." -Dr. Ron Paul

You are right.

Ye,s I was there to the end and saw you. That 100% rule was a joke. Even the sponsor tried to withdraw it after the platform committee voted not to recommend. He wanted to change it to 85% agreement.
The platform is actually pretty good as state platforms go. But nobody follows it. At least not the most important parts.

I knew that not everybody was networked. Yes, it could have been better. It ticks me off that we have to go to these lengths. It messes with our communication. And what really burns me is that the insiders know that what we want is NOT to seize power for ourselves. They know that if people really understood what we were up to 99% of the people would be helping us.

The Virtual Conspiracy

Well, that is what the

Well, that is what the Grassroots are FOR! Government by the People, not some organization, campaign or otherwise!

I was at the 3rd district convention with you guys!

and if you want to send me a private message i will tell you how we got the word out on mark hanson. the reason he won was because of us. again, please message me and i will let you in the loop.

I would like to know, send a

I would like to know, send a personal message to my husband, Mr. Spacehabitats.
Mrs. S

The Virtual Conspiracy

JustLiberty4US's picture

This is an amazing story. It

This is an amazing story. It is so informative about the election process, dirty tricks (and how to deal with them), what can happen, and how to handle it. Thanks so much for sharing it. Congratulations. Your hard work and persistence paid off.

reedr3v's picture




That is exactly why I wanted to report more of the story and not just the results.

The Virtual Conspiracy

Thank you...

... for your dedication!

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand

How come Mr. Anders lost?

I do not know if he was for Ron Paul or Santorum, but I voted for him, since he was on the slate. Possibly he needed to make a better and longer speech.

He is definitely a Ron Paul

He is definitely a Ron Paul supporter, not sure why he did not win.
Mrs. S

The Virtual Conspiracy