Iowa’s senior senator and the Republican National Committeeman from Iowa both dismiss proposed changes in Republican Party operations as unnecessary. Senator Chuck Grassley is an Iowa Republican delegate in Florida this week, attending his eighth Republican National Convention.
“An old adage here probably holds and that is: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,'” Grassley told reporters this morning.
Critics of the current convention system argue it’s been abused by small groups, like Evangelical Christians in the 1980s and modern-day Ron Paul supporters, who gain a disproportionate share of delegate seats at the national convention and use that as leverage to change the party’s message. Grassley, whose 1980 candidacy was fueled in part by support from Christian conservatives, said anyone who wants to “stand alone” for their beliefs should be respected for it and the changes aren’t needed.
“I don’t know of anything in all the years that I’ve been going to convention that the way things have been done…that aren’t working and have worked pretty well,” Grassley said
Steve Scheffler, the Republican National Committeeman from Iowa, was a co-founder of the Iowa Christian Coalition. Scheffler said one proposed change would allow presidential candidates of the future to “dictate” the list of delegates to the party’s nomination convention.
“I’m not picking on Mitt Romney at all…because I’m all on board with Mitt Romney but if he’s elected (president) and he’s our nominee and he has no opposition in 2016, then that means his campaign has the full authority to dictate who those delegates are so unless you have been a big donor or you’ve been a part of their leadership eam, the chances of you being elected a delegate to the national convention are next to none,” Scheffler said. “It takes power completely away from the grassroots and that can’t happen.”
Tamara Scott, Iowa’s next Republican National Committeewoman, said it could create a sort of “pay to play” system for the presidential candidates.
“It weakens the party much more because if your candidate has the ability to select, approve or disapprove (delegates) — your grassroots and your state party becomes irrelevant,” Scott said.
Another proposed change might impact the schedule of state primaries and caucuses, tempting states to schedule contests earlier and earlier. Scheffler told reporters the man proposing these changes is a “jerk” from Washington, D.C., but there’s a group of allies working to get the proposals voted down Tuesday morning when the Republican National Convention Rules Committee meets. If that doesn’t work, Scheffler said they’ll try to force a vote among all the delegates to the national convention.