C4P Exclusive: Interview With Peter Singleton on the Iowa Straw Poll

Editor’s Note: Rose F. Lawrence has joined the C4P reporting team. Please welcome her aboard. She is working with O4P in her state of Georgia, and has a nose for news.

Since my run-in with the CNN crew a few weeks ago, I’ve been mulling over the notion that we are all citizen journalists now. Setting the record straight is something that Governor Sarah Palin has become renowned for; while her example of leadership has inspired me in many ways to take action in the small things, I find it interesting to see how her example has also prompted me to activate my own fact-check when reading the news.

This occurred to me recently as I read the following comment down-thread at C4P:

The Ames Poll is ours. Peter Singleton and the Iowans 4 Palin team have put in the work and have a list of names that will vote for Sarah, and there is a good 2 weeks to get them to the polls. $35. covers the cost of one write in ballot. Winning the Ames Poll as a write in by an unannounced candidate lays down a serious marker in this race, that no other candidate can do. It will take less than 5000 votes with the contested field. Every $35. you give will bring someone to vote that might sit out otherwise, and they will have a lot of fun going, and meeting other like minded individuals. A 1000 x $35. may well bring about the momentum to make this happen.

Further discussion ensued as to whether there was such a plan in place. So, I contacted Peter Singleton himself, as one of the commenters suggested, to find out the truth about this rumor.

Peter had not seen the comment before I brought it to his attention, and was quick to refute the notion that he and his volunteers are undertaking a big effort—or even any effort–on Governor Sarah Palin’s behalf to secure votes for her at the Iowa Straw Poll. Peter said that while he “warmly appreciated” the commitment, energy and insights of the folks posting at Conservatives4Palin (which he has read, daily, since the blog was founded), whoever reported that Organize4Palin in Iowa was pushing for write in votes had simply erred in that statement.

“We’re not pushing people at all to write in Sarah Palin’s name,” he told me. “We support the Straw Poll, and encourage everyone to attend because it’s a great event for the Republican Party here in Iowa.  If people want to write in her name, of course we appreciate their doing so, but we’re not doing any push for votes in the Straw Poll, in any way.  Nothing–we are not even sending an email out to our mailing list in the state encouraging people to do so.  We are simply not focused on this.

“No one, literally no one, will work harder for their candidate than Governor Palin’s volunteers, and no one will have the level of commitment and number of volunteers that Governor Palin will have.  And there is certainly no organization that is working harder for their candidate—announced or unannounced—than Organize4Palin is working on behalf of Governor Palin.

“But for us, since our candidate is not in the race yet, we are focusing all of our attention on the caucuses on February 6, 2012. We expect her to make her decision soon, and expect that decision to be to run.  At that point, the campaign will begin in earnest for Governor Palin’s grassroots supporters in this state—and we will be ready when that moment comes.

“By contrast, the 2012 campaign has begun for the announced candidates, and thus the Straw Poll will be a measure of effectiveness of their ground games and support in this state—and virtually all of them, either publicly or privately, are working hard to get votes at the Straw Poll.  There is also a well-funded organization of political professionals supporting a national Republican figure considering entering the race, which is aggressively soliciting votes at the Straw Poll, and their success in doing so may provide an indication as to the effectiveness of their considerable efforts in this state thus far.

“We are watching all of their efforts closely, and appreciate what they are doing, and wish them all well.  We look forward to contending vigorously with them when the Governor enters the race.”

That all seemed decisive and clear to me, not to mention sensible and prudent. So there you have it. Straight from the source.

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