Trip Down South Raises Concerns for Iowan

ROCKFORD, Iowa–Chuck Laudner spent time down in Mississippi the last few weeks and he saw something there that he hasn’t seen in his home state of Iowa. And what is missing has him concerned. “I don’t see the same intensity,” Laudner said.

Laudner, who has served as Congressman Steve King’s chief of staff and  executive director for the Republican Party of Iowa, had been working recently on behalf of the Tea Party Patriots in the Jackson, Mississippi, area. Tea Partiers had rallied behind Chris McDaniel’s primary campaign against longtime Republican U.S. Senator Thad Cochran.

Cochran narrowly beat McDaniel Tuesday in an intense primary battle, where Cochran actually reached out to Democrats to help him hold onto his party’s nomination. That tactic, by the way, disgusted Laudner. Laudner said “that’s a bridge too far” for some Republicans and he predicted some of McDaniel’s supporters will push for a third-party run or they might just skip the November election altogether.

Laudner described Mississippi primary voters as “engaged,” something he just hasn’t felt the same way in Iowa’s U.S. Senate primary race. He helped run Sam Clovis’ campaign in the race. Clovis, a northwest Iowa radio talk show host and college professor, surprised some by finishing second in the primary, albeit a distant second to State Senator Joni Ernst’s lopsided win.

Laudner knows many pundits predict Republicans should have a strong year in November because of President Obama’s low poll numbers and the slow-growth economy. But he feels his party could be in for a disappointment if high-profile nominees like Ernst and 3rd District candidate David Young don’t prove to voters soon that they “stand for something.”

He believes both candidates do, in fact, stand for something. But he feels like they and his party need to do a better job of communicating that with Iowans to instill the same kind of passion in his state as he saw from primary voters in Mississippi.

Laudner will be a guest Sunday morning at 9:30 on Channel 13’s The Insiders.