The state’s two major political parties are holding state conventions today, choosing the delegates who’ll attend each party’s national conventions this summer. There may be a bit of a ruckus at the Republican convention in Des Moines, as supporters of Ron Paul intend to stake out new turf as Iowa GOP leaders.
Twenty-seven-year-old Joel Kurtinitis was Ron Paul’s state director until the campaign closed up shop last month.
“The Ron Paul Revolution, if it’s called that, really was not about Ron Paul,” Kurtinitis says. “…It’s not stuck to his name as much as it is the principles of the founders.”
Kurtinitis says the effort is now focused on reducing the size and scope of government rather than working to make Ron Paul the GOP’s presidential nominee.
“The nomination may be wrapped up,” Kurtinitis says. “But we still have the chance to say, ‘Hey, this is the direction we want our party to move.’”
Another young former Ron Paul campaign staffer in Iowa, Adil Khan, is leading a new organization called Liberty Iowa PAC. Its goal is electing what he calls “constitutional conservatives” to state and local offices.
“People who do not compromise on many key issues such as life, such as protecting gun rights (and) all the way down to key issues like raw milk,” Khan says. “Things like that.”
Khan hopes as many as 80 percent of state Republican convention-goers will be likeminded and help reshape the state party platform. The document will be voted on this weekend. Doug Gross, the Iowa Republican Party’s nominee for governor in 2002, has seen the draft.
“Some of the platform ideas are just crazy,” Gross says.
And Gross doesn’t doubt Ron Paul supporters will outnumber Republicans who supported other candidates in the Caucuses.
“I suspect that the convention this weekend will be a circus because these folks by definition are not institutionally minded,” Gross says. “I mean, they see a piece of china on the table. They’d like to break it. They don’t want to turn it into a full set.”
In addition to a debate about the Iowa Republican Party’s platform at today’s convention, there will be a contest to be the state party’s representatives on the Republican National Committee. Supporters of Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and other candidates who competed in the Caucuses have tried to develop a “unity slate” of delegates to the GOP’s national convention in Tampa, but Ron Paul backers have a slate of their own — and that will be another fight waged during today’s convention, to see how many Iowa delegates will be Ron Paul supporters.
Rick Santorum won the Iowa Caucuses. Mitt Romney finished second. Ron Paul was third.