A leading Republican activist in Iowa says the G-O-P is reeling from a variety of factors, including President Bush’s lagging popularity and the sex scandal involving a former Republican congressman from Florida.
Steve Roberts, a Des Moines attorney and past chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, is a member of the Republican National Committee. “I think it’s going to be a very tough and tight year for the Republican party,” Robert says. “I think a lot of it will depend on turn-out and getting our voters and supporters out at all levels and I think whatever we talk about, it’s going to be very close (and) in some cases, beyond the realm of saving.”
While Roberts did not specify which Iowa races are in that lost category, he did say it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Democrats will take back control of the Iowa Senate. He predicts the Iowa House will remain in Republican control, barely. “I think we should be grateful, as a Republican, for everything we get this cycle,” Roberts says.
Roberts says the scandal surrounding the lurid “instant messages” a former G-O-P congressman sent a teenager who’d been a House page is causing an uproar with conservative Republicans in Iowa. “Originally, I thought it wasn’t having an effect, but I think it clearly is having an effect. Now, it may not be having an effect by the time we get to election day but it clearly has had several points effect in what we’ve seen,” Roberts says. “…If you hold yourself out as the party of morality, to some degree, you’d better be there as far as your actions.”
Roberts doesn’t think “Christian conservatives” are completely abandoning his party, though. “The hope is that they will, on reconsideration, realize that there is a clear choice in this election…They won’t vote Democratic in most cases,” Roberts says.
Roberts made his comments this weekend during an appearance on Iowa Public Television.