Monday, November 10, 2008

Restructuring the Party – Part One

Since at least 2002, the Republican Party of Iowa hasn’t performed. The job of the Party is to recruit quality candidates without criminal records, help Republicans win elections in Iowa, raise money, and help shape the message of candidates across the state. The Party has done all of these very poorly.

This isn’t an attempt to blame individuals although there are many who struggled mightily. This is an attempt to identify problems and offer solutions. This will be continued for the next few days. Any suggestions are more than welcome – God knows we need the help!

The Party should not have any problems raising money from high dollar donors. Latham, King, Grassley, and the gubernatorial candidates do it just fine. The Party needs to hire a good fundraiser, be it Nicole Schlinger’s Capitol Resources or a guy like Craig Robinson. This doesn’t mean the fundraisers do everything, they just set up the meetings and coordinate the fundraising, you still need the Chairman to make the ask.

On the other hand, the money the Party brings in for the Lincoln Dinner and the Reagan Dinner is simply pitiful. Typically they profit around $25,000 or so. And many of the donations come from county parties and candidates – the very people they are supposed to be helping.

We need to leave these types of events to the Congressional Districts. King and Latham both had events last year that raised around $100,000. These were both very big events implemented by Capitol Resources. The profit for both events was close to 75 percent of gross income generated. That is a ton better than what the Party can do. If we give these events back to the districts, headed up by the State Central Committee members in those districts, we can raise a lot more money for our candidates. With one each year, we can easily have $150,000 to divvy up between the State House and Senate candidates in the district. I’m betting Taylor, Bertrand, Smith, Reynolds, Struyk, and Belt (5th district candidates) would have been able to use the extra $25,000. That way the money goes directly to the candidates and not through the party where it will be used for the office expenses, staff wages and benefits. This would also go back to the bottom-up philosophy rather than running everything top down – which obviously hasn’t worked.

I’ll have part two tomorrow where I will offer suggestions for better on the ground GOTV efforts. A future installment will delve into the RPI vs. LMF struggle.

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