Conservative groups campaign for GOP ticket in Waterloo

WATERLOO | Several conservative groups have come together this week and stopped in Waterloo to make sure Republicans keep traditional marriage and pro-life family issues in mind.

Under the banner of “Standing for the American Family,” groups like the Eagle Forum, the Family Research Council, the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Leader have launched a bus tour to get out the social conservative vote.

The tour came through the Cedar Valley on Tuesday. Several speakers rallied a dozen supporters at Republicans of Black Hawk County offices before heading to a screening of “Unfair,” a film made by Cedar Falls activist Judd Saul about the Internal Revenue Service.

“These family issues determine a lot of what happens in the long run in the economic arena, so it’s very important to address,” said first-term state Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville.

The rally’s emcee, Tamara Scott, Republican National Committeewoman for Iowa, said it’s important to focus on races up and down the ballot. But most of the speakers, including Scott, promoted Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst.

Ernst is running against Democrat Bruce Braley, a congressman from Waterloo, to replace the retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

“The nation is saying, ‘Go Team Joni,’” Scott said. “They understand the necessity of having a Republican Senate to stop some of the foolishness that’s been taking place.”

That sentiment was echoed by the other organizations’ representatives.

“(Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid is nothing short of a tyrant. I mean, he refuses to allow the Republicans to be a part of the conversation, and that is not governing,” said Glyn Wright, executive director of the Eagle Forum. “So all eyes are on Iowa right now, because this seat isn’t just important because it’s important for Iowans. It’s important because there’s potentially a Supreme Court seat at stake. The sovereignty of our nation is at stake.”

Diego von Stauffenberg, with the National Organization for Marriage, discussed the “difficult week” last week when the Supreme Court refused to hear further arguments on marriage issues.

He also noted the importance of making sure the issue of marriage between one man and one woman stays at the Republican forefront.

“We also have to watch out that our party, the Republican Party, doesn’t abandon us on these most important issues, the social issues,” von Stauffenberg said.

Connie Mackey, the Family Research Council’s political action committee president, said Republican candidates on the ballot have supported those issues, which is why the bus tour is supporting those candidates.

“Luckily, all the candidates that we’re supporting, we’ve met with them, they are with us on all those issues. They are solid on the platform issues,” Mackey said.

Donna Red Wing, executive director of the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group One Iowa, called the groups’ effort “a misguided bus tour” with “hurtful rhetoric” that is out of step with Iowans’ evolving view of marriage equality.

“We know that this bus tour is simply an outdated reaction to this new reality,” Red Wing said in a statement. “Iowa has enjoyed marriage equality for over five years now, with a majority of Americans supporting the freedom to marry.”

Read the article from the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.