Archive for Sunday, June 18, 2006

Brownback among GOP contenders courting Iowans

June 18, 2006


— Four Republicans considering running for president in 2008 courted activists Saturday and predicted GOP success in the November elections despite the party's sagging support in polls.

"The theme is we are right on the issues, not just for Iowa but for the country," said New York Gov. George Pataki. "I understand what the experts are saying, but if we stick to Republican principles we will succeed."

Also at the Iowa Republican convention, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback said: "The Democrats want this election to be a referendum election. But the best thing we can do for the Iowa Republican Party is show that this is not a referendum. It's a choice."

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Virginia Sen. George Allen joined them at the convention attended by nearly 2,000 people. Aides to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, of Tennessee, were there, too.

The event is the traditional kickoff of the fall campaign.

"It's never been this early," said Iowa's Republican chairman, Ray Hoffman. "I think it's a positive for our state." He said the attention from presidential candidates will bring money and organizational expertise to local candidates.

Sen. Sam Brownback, left.

Sen. Sam Brownback, left.

"The message is that we need to stand strong for certain principles, ideas and actions," Allen said.

Allen, who faces a Senate challenge from Democrat Jim Webb, said he probably would not return to Iowa, where precinct caucuses launch the presidential nominating season, before the November election. He dismissed suggestions that other potential White House candidates would have an edge because they are free to roam Iowa.

Pataki and Romney both have announced they are not seeking another term as governor, and both are frequent visitors to Iowa. Pataki last week announced a leadership team of key Iowa activists, and Romney followed suit on Saturday, using the state GOP convention as a backdrop to release a list of 50 key Republican activists who have signed on.

Generally cast as a moderate, Romney sounded a theme of social conservatism before delegates at the state convention who are generally more conservative than most Republicans.

"The family is the absolute foundation of our culture," Romney said.

Brownback, a favorite of those social conservatives, touched on issues such as restricting abortion and taking a tough stand on the war in Iraq. Republicans should not be afraid of backing the war, the senator said, despite polls showing dwindling support.

"I think we should talk about the war," Brownback said. "I think it's time to have another debate, another national debate about the war."

Pataki has received attention for his focus on grass-roots retail politics, which he said was the centerpiece of his effort.

"It's certainly something that I love," Pataki said. "The best way to counteract the negatives about Republicans, the best way to energize the party is to meet people directly."

Virtually all of the Republicans say they are spending their time helping candidates for the fall. The governor's office is coming open, at least two of the state's five congressional districts feature competitive elections and the Legislature is in a virtual tie.

"An awful lot of the leaders here want me to come back to speak to fundraisers, to help mobilize the troops at their barbecues and picnics," Pataki said. "It's gratifying to hear they want me to come."


xenophonschild 12 years ago

Crash-and-burn, SammyBoy. People in Iowa aren't as stupid as they need to be to line up behind your standard. SammyBoy from RedNeckJesusLand.

bearded_gnome 12 years ago

I have cheerfully supported brownback until now. I will not vote for him again unless he displays a massive change of heart RE the illegal immigration votes he took in the senate. doesn't mean I'll vote for his demorat opponent, just can't vote for him again.
I know I represent many of his former supporters.

shanefivedyes 12 years ago

I agree bearded_gnome... The Democrat's are not the answer either. Who will step up to the plate, lead and represent the people??

bearded_gnome 12 years ago

with the recent complete failure of the Senate, including Brownback's votes, to secure our borders and correct the anchor-baby/illegal imigration invasion going on now, perhaps it is time to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment and stop electing Senators by popular vote. thus returning to the original plan of the founders and freeing Senators from the need to raise money for campaigns, like from the big ag interests who apparently bought Brownback's votes against our security and our economy.

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