The National Review’s piece has a good piece on the bad blood in Iowa between the the party chair, who is a RonPaul supporter, and Governor Branstad. This is a fight between the old guard and the party’s activist base and something that has been going on around the country as RonPaul supporters start taking over more GOP sate committees.
Recently, in Nevada’s Clark County (home to Las Vegas) the party voted out the RonPaul-linked county party chair. Over the past year Clark County has been home to a ongoing battle between the more establishment GOP and Paul supporters. In June 2012, an election year in which the nominee had already been settled and Nevada was up for grabs, RonPaul supporters put up billboards attacking Mitt Romney (the GOP’s nominee) and praising guess who…
This fighting is obviously going to have an impact on 2016.
First, whoever wins the tug-of-war in Iowa will decided if they Straw Poll happens in summer 2015. That event has helped cut the field in both 2008 and 2012, so whether or not its there will impact how candidates spend money and campaign time.
More importantly, who controls the party makes the rules and decides how delegates are selected. This is key to any nomination fight.
Look at a state like Maine. If it’s a primary someone like Chris Christie would win it because the state has a sizable moderate/establishment wing that will take the 10 minutes to go vote in a GOP primary. If it’s a convention or caucus then it favors a candidate like Paul or Cruz who appeals to the party’s more ideological activists who are more than willing to give up 3 hours on a weekday evening or all day Saturday to support their candidate. The same could be said for states like Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, or Illinois – which means a large number of delegates can be swung before anyone even votes.
So if you’re a RonPaul supporter or hater, whoever is running your state party and using that power to decide the nomination process, is something you should keep an eye on.