Iowa’s Republican governor says a “few minor mistakes” were made in the conduct of the 2012 Iowa Republican Party Caucuses, but Governor Terry Branstad is not joining those who’ve called on Iowa G-O-P chairman Matt Strawn to resign over the way he handled last week’s release of the certified Caucus results.
“I’m not going to talk about public relations, but I will say I think he’s worked very hard and I think he has done a reasonable job,” Branstad said this morning during his weekly statehouse news conference. “I guess you can criticize if you want, but I respect how difficult and challenging it is.”
AUDIO of governor responding to reporters’ questions about Caucus results.
Supporters of Rick Santorum have complained about the party chairman’s actions. On Caucus Night, when the original tally indicated Mitt Romney had eight more votes, Strawn declared Romney the winner of the Caucuses. When the certified results were released last Wednesday to The Des Moines Register indicated Santorum had 34 more votes, however, Strawn said he “couldn’t speculate” as to which candidate won the Caucuses. Strawn did not declare Santorum the winner until he was pressed to do so in interviews with other media outlets on Thursday.
“I think that was a mistake, but he did later (declare Santorum the winner),” Branstad said. “He made up for it the next day.”
Late Friday night, the party’s state central committee and its chairman issued a joint statement to “affirm” that Santorum was the victor. A major donor to the party has threatened to withhold contributions from Iowa Republicans in 2012 if Strawn doesn’t resign. Branstad told reporters this morning he thinks Strawn has done “a great job” as party chairman.
“It’s a difficult circumstance,” Branstad said. “We had the biggest turn-out in Republican Caucus history. We had the closest election by far that we’ve ever had — less than a hundred votes.”
Branstad said hundreds of “sincere” volunteers tried to what was right in handling the Caucus results, and ly eight people “didn’t explicitly follow the directions quite the way they should have.”