Night of the Rising Stars: The Good, The Strange, and The Future
If you did not know freshmen Kentucky Senator Rand Paul prior, and you attended Saturday nightâ€™s Iowa Republican Party event â€œNight of the Rising Starsâ€ . . . then you certainly know him now.
I will get to Senator Paul, the evenings keynote speaker, momentarily but first let us briefly deal with the atmosphere and the purpose of the nightâ€™s eventâ€”recognizing the up and comers in the Iowa Republican Party. The crowd of 300-400 took to their seats in the warm, ornate theatre of the Hoyt Sherman Place largely to celebrate the impressive and hard won gains by Iowa Republicans in the last election cycle. The program included very short remarks from Senate Leader Paul McKinley, House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Party Chairman Matt Strawn, and Governor Terry Branstad. Following Governor Branstad, Senator Chuck Grassley was brought up to introduce Senator Paul. I will spare you of the particulars, as the real story lay in the last two speakers, but will apprise you of a few things of note that did happen during the body of the program.
Believe it or not a quasi-disco atmosphere was attempted to be created, which was odd due to the advanced mean age of those in attendance. Thanks to a mirror ball hung from the ceiling, each speaker took to the stage under a shower of colored lights as the venueâ€™s sound system blasted a song of their choosing. The â€œRising Stars,â€ though some were in attendance, were mainly celebrated through videos which showed clips of them at the Statehouse telling the camera what they do for a living and why they chose to run for office. The crowd largely sat silent for the videos, with the exception of small outbursts of cheering at the appearances of Kim Pearson, Kent Sorenson, and Jack Whitver.
Thirty-one year old Secretary of State Matt Schultz provided the evenings first shot of energy with a robust presentation that included a fiery defense of his signature issue, requiring a photo ID be shown before voting. Party Chair Matt Strawn followed, in a warm and charismatic style, with a few words about [...]