11:25 AM, Sep 2, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Just before the start of the Labor Day holiday weekend, the reelection campaign for Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced its campaign manager, Jesse Benton, was resigning. Benton was leaving the campaign, Politico reports, "citing potential distractions over renewed attention to a scandal from the Iowa 2012 caucuses."
Benton had served as chairman for Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign (he's also married to Paul's granddaughter). The Paul campaign has been accused of paying for the endorsement of at least one Iowa state senator. The former senator, Kent Sorenson, pled guilty last week to switching his endorsement from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul in 2011—shortly before the Iowa caucuses—in exchange for more than $70,000 from the Paul campaign. Sorenson also said he was paid by the Bachmann campaign.
Benton hasn't been formally accused of any wrongdoing, but there have been allegations that the former McConnell campaign chair knew about the pay-for-endorsement arrangement. In a phone conversation recorded last year by a disgruntled former Paul supporter in Iowa, Sorenson said of his payment from the Paul campaign, "Oh, I know Jesse knows. I know Jesse knows."
In a separate phone conversation recorded by the disgruntled supporter from January 2013, Benton denied his involvement in or knowledge of the scheme. Asked about the allegations last year, the McConnell campaign declined to answer. On that call, Benton also told the supporter that he was "holding his nose" working for the Senate minority leader until the forthcoming presidential campaign by McConnell's fellow Kentucky Republican and son of Ron Paul, Rand Paul. Benton told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the recording of the call was "truly sick."
Benton and McConnell later made light of Benton's embarrassing statement by posing together with their noses held.
10:24 AM, Jan 27, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A gathering of pro-Hillary Clinton activists in Iowa this weekend revealed how supporters of the former first lady are hoping to learn from the mistakes of Clinton's failed attempt to win the Iowa caucuses in 2008. America Rising, a conservative opposition research firm, had its cameras rolling at the meeting, organized by Ready for Hillary, a super PAC that supports Clinton.
10:42 AM, Aug 13, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The chairman of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign is refusing to answer questions about allegations the campaign paid for endorsements before the Iowa caucuses last year. Jesse Benton, a longtime Paul aide who is now campaign manager for Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, has not replied to requests for comment after an audio recording surfaced whereby an Iowa state senator, Kent Sorenson, admitted he had received a $30,000 check from high-level Paul campaign official, accepting the money in exchange for switching his support from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul.
2:14 AM, Jan 4, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
As caucusgoers gathered Tuesday night in Iowa, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign here tries to maintain its focus on the first in the nation New Hampshire primary. In the campaign office on Elm Street, a cadre of young, college-aged volunteers works the phones and snacks on pizza. Except for the communal television which is tuned to Fox News to check in on Iowa, and which only attracts the scattered attention of a few staffers, work goes on as usual.
8:08 AM, Jan 3, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich lowered the boom on Mitt Romney in an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan. Gingrich criticized his GOP rival as a "Massachusetts moderate" while touting himself as a "Southern conservative." Asked if he ought to be responding more aggressively to attacks from Romney and the other Republican candidates, Gingrich said he would need to fight back, as some aides have reportedly been urging him to do.
2:31 PM, Jan 2, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
CNN's Dana Bash touted her interview with Texas congressman Ron Paul and his son, Kentucky senator Rand Paul, by noting on Twitter that the elder Paul "ruled out running outside" the Republican party if he fails to win the GOP nomination for president. But that's not exactly what Ron Paul said. Here's the quotation (emphasis mine):
8:16 AM, Jan 2, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
It’s likely that no candidate will win so much as 30 percent of the votes cast in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses. Yet you can bet that the press corps will crown as the big winner the candidate who gets perhaps one-quarter of the votes of caucus-goers in a state that’s half the size of the average state. Meanwhile, those who get one-sixth, or one-seventh, or one-eighth, of that same vote, will be labeled as losers who might want to think about dropping out of the national race. This, of course, is foolishness.
11:00 PM, Dec 31, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The latest poll of Republican Iowa caucusgoers by the Des Moines Register finds Mitt Romney maintaining a slight lead over his Republican rivals with 24 percent support. In the survey, conducted over four days in the last week, Ron Paul comes in a close second with 22 percent, and Rick Santorum sees his numbers improve to 15 percent ahead of Tuesday's caucuses. Here's more from the Register:
4:16 PM, Dec 28, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The latest CNN poll of Iowa and New Hampshire Republicans show Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, in the lead in both states. The New Hampshire poll confirms Romney's long-held advantage over his GOP opponents at 44 percent, 9 points up from a similar poll conducted by CNN earlier this month.
7:18 PM, Dec 27, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Newt Gingrich has released a 30-second ad that will air on television in Iowa starting on Wednesday. The ad focuses on his jobs plan and reminds Iowa Republicans of Gingrich's strong debate performances this past fall. Watch the video below:
Ignore the caucus results. They won’t matter. Jan 2, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 16 • By FRED BARNES
When Senator Paul Simon of Illinois was running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, one of his first stops was in the backyard of a residence in Wartburg, Iowa. About 100 people had assembled to hear him. The first question: What’s up in Namibia?
7:55 AM, Dec 16, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Mitt Romney had a strong performance Thursday night in the final debate before the January 3 Iowa caucuses. From Medicare reform to foreign policy to the economy, Romney provided mostly succinct answers within the mainstream of Republican ideas. And because he did not spend much time engaging his opponents, he also avoided missteps like his infamous “$10,000 bet” with Rick Perry at last week’s debate.
3:09 PM, Dec 2, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Former Iowa governor Robert Ray has endorsed Mitt Romney for president. Ray is a moderate Republican who served as governor of the Hawkeye State for 14 years. "I want our next president to be someone whose character and judgment I respect and whose ideas are valid for our country," Ray said in a statement. "I believe Mitt Romney offers the personal qualities and vision to become a truly great president."