The leader of the Iowa Christian Alliance says there was no intention to slight Republican Senator Charles Grassley by not naming Grassley a delegate to the Republican National Convention. Steve Scheffler of the Iowa Christian Alliance was just elected to the Republican National Committee. He’ll be one of three Iowans to serve on that panel.
Scheffler says the goal at the Iowa GOP’s state convention was to elect "grassroots" Republicans to the party’s national convention to get them excited about the fall election. Scheffler says no one at the party’s state convention on July 12th complained that Grassley’s name wasn’t on the delegate list. "I know a lot of people and I never heard any grumbling any where, any time, during the whole day," Scheffler says.
Published reports in the Washington Times and Chicago Sun-Times suggest Grassley’s relationship with Iowa’s evangelical community has been damaged by Grassley’s investigation of the lavish personal spending habits of a handful of televangelists. Scheffler says there’s no schism between Grassley and evangelicals. "He’s always been a hero and a leader on those issues that are of concern to pro-family Iowans and Republicans. He certainly is in the mainstream of where most Iowa voters are and most Republicans," Scheffler says. "I think you could poll about anybody and everybody in that constituency and find out there’s a lot of great respect for (Grassley)."
Scheffler guesses the majority of delegates from Iowa who’ll attend the Republican National Convention have never been to a convention before. Scheffler denies there was any sort of "litmus test" that disqualified potential delegates who do not believe in Iowa Christian Alliance aims, but Scheffler says support of the Republican Party’s platform was key. "In general terms, we wanted to encourage the election of people who were going to stick by those principals that we find in our platform," Scheffler says.
A spokeswoman for Senator Grassley says Grassley believes "the more Iowa Republicans who participate in the (national convention) the better." Grassley press secretary Beth Pellett Levine did acknowledge, however, that Grassley was asked if he wanted to a delegate, and Grassley said yes. Grassley is Iowa’s top-ranking Republican and has been a delegate to his party’s past eight national conventions.
Democrats declare federally-elected officials like senators "super delegates" to their national convention, but Republicans have no system of reserving spots at the convention for elected officials.