By Mike Thayer
Seriously, why do people in Johnson County give money to the Johnson County Republican Central Committee?
Does the committee find candidates for office? A core mission of the central committee, they haven't successfully recruited anyone for several elections. People that have run for office in Johnson County under the Republican banner have done so via their own personal decision to run, not because they were recruited/sought out/groomed by the central committee.
Does the committee get candidates elected? No. Look at their track record. The Johnson County Central Committee cannot honestly claim credit for helping anyone get elected to office.
Does the committee grow the party? No. Party activist numbers at the local level have been stagnant for years. Sure, they get a bump in participation around election time, but now that the election is over, central committee participation will decline. To be fair that's typical, participation ebbs and flows around elections, but the local party should always see at least some growth post-election and the Johnson County Republican Central Committee does not. The same core group will remain, new growth will be virtually non-existent. Perhaps the committee will gain one, but another regular will stop being active. There's no real growth, only turnover.
So in three primary functions of a party central committee: 1. Recruit candidates for office; 2. Provide tools to get those candidates elected; 3. Grow the party locally; The Johnson County Republican Central Committee continues to fail. They demonstrate a track record of failure election after election. Don't take my word for it, check out the county auditor's office website. Election year after election year, Johnson County Democrats are elected to office overwhelmingly, not Republicans.
Granted, Republicans are outnumbered nearly 3-1 in this county, but not just because Iowa City is a liberal college town. In large part it's because the Johnson County Republican Central Committee FAILS TO ACHIEVE.
I contend that some in the central committee leadership circle are content with continuing to fail, to them the monthly meetings are just a social gathering, but that's a story for another day.
So now that we've identified the problems, what are the solutions?
1. Stop listening to core members that make up the executive committee. Stop listening to people such as Bill Keetel and Chuck Seberg. Their advice and stances are counter-productive to local party success. Look at the track record. It's abysmal.
2. Stop giving money to the central committee as long as current leadership remains in power. If you want to donate money, give it to individual candidates for office directly - there really is no need for a middle man here, in fact I'll take it a step further.... Giving money to the central committee amounts to flushing money down the toilet! They don't produce a darn thing. Another outstanding alternative is to consider giving to the College Republicans. They actually gets things done, they are fresh minds with fresh ideas and they outwork the central committee. They flat out do more to promote Republican ideals around here than the central committee does. Think about that.
3. Insist on having events throughout the county, not just at Clear Creek/Amana High School. It's no wonder GOP awareness in this county is so minimal, the local GOP *leadership* wants to do everything in one location - everytime! That may be convenient for *leadership* but it's not convenient for folks countywide. To raise party awareness and participation, events need to be held in North Liberty, Swisher, Shueyville, Solon, Hills, Lone Tree, etc. Travel the county for crying out loud! It can be something as simple as holding the monthly central committee meetings in a different location month-to-month. Raising party awareness and participation takes work, and the local party leadership has to be willing to do it. The current crop of so-called leaders - aren't willing.
4. Insist on having more events other than an annual spring spaghetti dinner and fall BBQ. Two dinners a year sprinkled with some candidate appearances in an election year doesn't cut it. Giving tickets to a select few local party elites to the annual state party event in Des Moines doesn't grow the party or ramp up party activism with new faces.
Doing those four things would be a great start to new beginnings for the Republican Party in Johnson County. And here's the great thing about trying new ideas.... Ideas generate more and greater ideas!
As long as the current circle of *leadership* in the Johnson County Republican Central Committee wants to treat politics as a monthly social club gathering, they don't deserve money from outside their circle. Let them self-fund their little social club. You get nothing for your money, the social club doesn't produce anything.