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Iowa Politics Roundup: Collins Considers Bid for RNC Chair PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 26 November 2010 12:40

Former Republican National Committee (RNC) political director and Iowa native Gentry Collins says he is weighing a bid for chair of the organization.

The announcement came one week after Collins announced his departure from the RNC with a scathing letter directed at current RNC Chair Michael Steele.

“I have been encouraged by many friends, both on the committee and from outside the committee, to take this step as the RNC prepares to elect a chairman in January,” Collins said in a statement.

Republican National Committee member and former Michigan GOP state chair Saul Anuzis is the only candidate to publicly announce he’s running for RNC chair.

Others mentioned as possible candidates include former Bush administration and RNC official Maria Cino, Wisconsin GOP chair Reince Priebus, former Luxembourg ambassador and RNC Chair Ann Wagner, former South Carolina Republican Party chair Katon Dawson, California Republican Party Chair Ron Nehring, Connecticut Republican Party Chair Chris Healy, Republican Governors Association Executive Director Nick Ayers, Mississippi Governor and former RNC Chair Haley Barbour, and former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman.

Former Republican Party of Iowa Chair Brian Kennedy of Bettendorf on Nov. 9 filed the paperwork with the Iowa secretary of state’s office creating “Collins for Chairman” as a 527 not-for-profit corporation. The paperwork lists Kennedy as the incorporator and says the corporation shall have no members.

Collins, 35, is a former executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa. He was former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s Iowa state director prior to the 2008 Iowa caucuses and later served as Midwest regional director for Arizona Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. He also managed Doug Gross’ 2002 gubernatorial campaign and was a legislative aide to state Representative Chris Rants (R-Sioux City).

In announcing his departure from the RNC, Collins sent a four-page letter to the members of the RNC claiming that Steele made many mistakes. Collins’ main point of criticism was the RNC’s fundraising operation and Steele’s alleged inability to attract major donors.

Republican National Committee member Steve Scheffler of West Des Moines, president of the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, told that he thinks Collins’ chances of becoming RNC chair are as good as anybody else’s when the RNC votes January 14.

“I’m real open to that,” Scheffler said of Collins’ candidacy, noting that he met with Collins recently.

“I’m absolutely not going to vote for Michael Steele,” Scheffler said. “I like him as a person; he’s charismatic; he’s engaging. But there’s just one shoe after another shoe that’s dropped. ... We need to have that embarrassment go away and find somebody who can pull everybody together.”

Medal of Honor Winner Giunta Recognized at State Capitol

Medal of Honor winner and Hiawatha native Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta on Tuesday returned to Iowa and thanked his friends, family teachers, and armed-services veterans for making him what he is.

“I think so much of what we strive to do now is just simply fill the shoes of the men and women who have walked before us and have shown us the path to what right looks like,” Giunta said during a ceremony at the State Capitol. “Those words and this state have made me who I am.”

Governor Chet Culver signed a proclamation during the ceremony declaring Tuesday as Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta Day in honor of Giunta’s heroism while deployed in Afghanistan in 2007. About 200 people attended the event.

“For your courage, bravery and selflessness, on behalf of all Iowans, we thank you very much,” Culver said.

Brigadier General Tim Orr, adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard, called it a unique day in history because Giunta is the first living winner of the award since the Vietnam War. Giunta received the award earlier this month from President Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House.

“We want to say thank you for your sacrifice, your service, and the fact that you are making a difference,” Orr said.

Giunta, the 54th Iowan to receive the Medal of Honor, said he is holding the medal for service members who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“I wear this for them,” Giunta said. “This isn’t mine; I’m just holding on to it for right now. ... For those men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can live in this country and we can sit and live in this beautiful state and feel protected here at home, this is for them.”