There were lots of cheers from the floor when Terry Branstad got up to speak Saturday at the Iowa Republican Party's state convention. But about 40 percent of the delegates weren't there. They walked out when he took the stage.
If there was any doubt that Bob Vander Plaats is organizing a "draft Bob" effort for an independent candidacy, they vaporized at the Iowa GOP convention. State Rep. Dewayne Alons (R-Hull), a Vander Plaats supporter, nominated his GOP gubernatorial candidate for the Lieutenant Governor slot on the ticket.
Shortly after that, supporters of the other man who opposed Branstad, Rod Roberts, also put his name into nomination for Lt. Governor. But a few minutes after that, Roberts took to the stage and said he was deferring to Branstad's perogaitive to pick his own running mate, declined the nomination and officially endorsed both Branstad and his running mate choice, State Sen. Kim Reynolds.
That was not the course that Vander Plaats elected to take, however. His speech talked of the "text messages" and "emails" that he'd gotten from people, and saying that he could "unite" the party. He accepted the nomination, and encouraged the delegates to ignore Branstad's pick and chose their own running mate for him.
After several hours of wrangling over ballot issues, it was announced that Kim Reynolds received 55.6 percent of the vote, getting 749 of the 1328 delegate votes.
Rep. Alons' nomination speech provides the key to understanding that supporters of Bob Vander Plaats are employing a "Draft Bob" strategy for an independent campaign. Alons told the convention, "We should not be surprised at an effort to draft a nominee, because Governor Branstad was drafted in that respect himself. I believe that we should not be surprised at a grassroots effort to draft a nominee."
This confirms what I predicted in my earlier post that an insurgency aimed at toppling Branstad's election chances is underway. It's aimed more at Doug Gross, who seems locked in a media soundbite war with Vander Plaats, Danny Carroll and Steve Deace. While Vander Plaats says he'd only run to win, his efforts to date have only been to defeat Branstad. (Unless, of course, there's the political equivalent of an "angel investor" ready to dump into a Vander Plaats independent campaign the money needed to go up against Branstad and Culver.
More to come on this...right now here's a video report on Phase One of the "Draft BVP" movement: