Carroll County Republican Chairman Craig Williams of Manning managed as host of caucus night responsibilities Tuesday at the Swan Lake Conservation Education Center.
Carroll County Republican Chairman Craig Williams of Manning managed as host of caucus night responsibilities Tuesday at the Swan Lake Conservation Education Center.
January 22, 2014

Carroll County Republican activists Tuesday delved right into the heavy hitting on policy with a call to abolish the Internal Revenue Service in favor of a flat, national sales tax.

The majority of county Republican precincts met at the Swan Lake Conservation Education Center - where the IRS-killing plank passed handily and will now move on for consideration at the county convention March 8.

About 40 Republicans - including Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers, Councilwoman Carolyn Siemann and Supervisor Mark Beardmore - attended the main caucus, where the chief order of business was electing delegates to the county convention and central committee. Republicans from eastern Carroll County met at the Lincoln Club in Glidden.

Fish, speaking at Swan Lake, said he's heard "inklings of division in the Republican Party."

The often warring elements of the party must coalesce around the eventual GOP general-election candidates, he said.

"We don't want to have a division that we have seen in the past or perhaps we currently have," Fish said.

Fish laid the re-election of President Barack Obama, a Democrat, largely at the feet of apathetic or discouraged Republicans.

"Republicans sat at home because they didn't like their candidate," he said, referring to the 2012 GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney, who alienated many social conservatives.

Carroll County Republican Chairman Craig Williams of Manning agreed with Fish's call for party unity.

He said the party should rally locally to defeat State Rep. Dan Muhlbauer, a Manilla Democrat who represents Carroll and Audubon counties and part of Crawford County.

Muhlbauer angered many gun-rights supporters when in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings he suggested possible confiscation of certain weapons to prevent mass murder. Muhlbauer, after first claiming he was misquuoted by The Daily Times Herald, later walked back the remarks and stressed his own gun ownership and what he said is strong advocacy of the Second Amendment.

Williams doesn't buy Muhlbauer's explanation.

"If you really like your Second Amendment rights, Mr. Muhlbauer probably hasn't tripped your trigger," Williams said.

The lone announced Republican challenging Muhlbauer, Carroll businessman Brian Best, made an appearance at the Swan Lake caucuses after starting a campaign swing earlier in the evening in Exira.

Another Carroll businessman, Paul Schaben, spoke on behalf of his nephew, Scott Schaben, a Harlan native and Kuemper Catholic High School alum now living in Ames. Scott Schaben is seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by veteran Democrat Tom Harkin.

Paul Schaben said Scott is a "local boy" who is "not afraid of work."

"He's the only one representing the blue-collar worker," Paul Schaben said.

Paul Schaben stressed that Scott, a salesman, has no government experience - which the elder Schaben sees as an advantage.

"He'll probably be the greenest one going in there," Paul Schaben said.

The Republicans gathered at Swan Lake narrowly passed a platform plank requiring the reading of the U.S. Constitution at the beginning of each session of Congress.

Williams said Republicans with policy ideas can still get hearings at county, district and state conventions.

"It doesn't end here," Williams said. "At every level, more planks get added in."

Fish told the Daily Times Herald after the meeting that he is working to bring a U.S. Senate Republican primary candidate debate to Carroll.