CEDAR RAPIDS — Despite attendance being limited because of COVID-19, Iowa Republicans who attended their national convention this week report “fever pitch” enthusiasm and a party “primed for victory” in November.
Such sentiments aren’t surprising coming from longtime leaders and party activists. However, Iowa Republican National Committee member Steve Scheffler said that despite the small number of delegates who attended in-person, the enthusiasm surpassed anything he’s seen at eight national conventions even though fewer than 400 delegates attended in person.
“This was probably the most exhilarating and the most exciting” convention in which he has participated, said Scheffler, who was among the six Iowans out of 40 RNC delegates to attend the convention.
Others participated virtually.
He’s also encouraged by the $1.1 billion the RNC has raised for the campaign as well as its ground game, including the use of technology to connect with voters.
“So that with enthusiasm on the ground, and with all this high-tech, I believe that we’re praying for victory,” he said.
Scheffler and the others who were in Charlotte, N.C., for the convention lavished praise on President Donald Trump for his handling of the economy, reducing regulation, negotiating trade agreements, no new wars and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Trump has been phenomenal in that area ... so wise in the way he handled it,” RNC member Tamara Scott said. The response was “”locally executed, state mandated and federally supported.
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“When they couldn’t get the test, he went to a private lab and got the testing,” she said. “When they couldn’t get the masks, he went to private industries and helped them as we came through. When they couldn’t get the vents, he went to commercial industry — competition — and we got the ventilators.
“It was a great illustration of how someone manages but doesn’t overtake, doesn’t overdo, doesn’t overreach.”
Scott was not concerned that the 2020 convention did not produce a new party platform. Given the scaled-back nature of the convention, the RNC opted for a resolution that continued the 2016 platform until 2024 and called for ruling out of order any attempt to change the platform.
It also promised the RNC will continues to “enthusiastically support the president’s America First agenda.
Scott, a member of the platform committee, called the 2016 document “one of the most cohesive, conservative, comprehensive” platforms.
“It was an extremely strong platform,” she said.
While not adopting a new platform was a departure from the usual practice, Scott said that despite new issues, such as the novel coronavirus and the current nature of relations with China, for example, there wasn’t a need for a new one.
“The beauty of it is when you have tested principles, they are timeless,” she said. “So those values that we have are not trends that change with the times. These are time-honored values and principles that will always stand the test of time.”
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