Republicans hold fundraiser before legislature begins

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January 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Republicans held a final fundraiser early this morning for legislative campaigns before the 2012 session began, as fundraising is forbidden while lawmakers are meeting in Des Moines. Senator Brad Zaun, the Republican “whip” in the Iowa Senate, made a final pitch for money. “There’s a lot of you in this room that have the financial resources. We need the help,” …The Iowa Senate is the battleground, one of the top battlegrounds in the United States this year and that’s good news, but we can’t do it without your help.” Democrats currently control the Iowa Senate by a slim 26-to-24 seat majority. About 180 people attended the early morning fundraiser and about a quarter were Republican legislators. The rest were lobbyists. Iowa Republican Party chairman Matt Strawn told the crowd there were “two ways” to make sure Democrat Mike Gronstal isn’t the top leader in the Iowa Senate next year.

“The best news is there’s two ways to make sure we don’t have a Majority Leader Gronstal in the Senate. One is to make sure we have 26 smiling Republican senators — or more — when we have this breakfast next year, or we can just beat him in his own district,” Strawn said, to laughter and applause. “Either way, we’re going to take care of it.” Gronstal, who is from Council Bluffs, faces a Republican opponent in November. Governor Branstad pledged his support for the effort to win Republican senate races.

Republicans current hold a 60-to-40 seat edge over Democrats in the House. Senate Republican Leader Jerry Behn says Gronstal, the Democratic leader, is a roadblock to Republican proposals from the House.“There were a lot of things in the senate that got stopped and so we jokingly turned his name into a verb,” Behn said. “We referred to bills being ‘Gronstalled.’” Republicans and Democrats in the legislature have held more than a dozen fundraisers since January 3rd — Caucus Night. Democrats held a big fundraiser for legislative campaigns Sunday evening in Des Moines.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)