Governments' Lighter Side

Right speech, wrong crowd

by Larry Conley
Mar 20, 2012

GOP candidate mistakenly makes his pitch at the other guy's convention

Political candidates know that sometimes things go awry on the campaign trail, like a malfunctioning microphone or a rained-out appearance. But Iowa congressional candidate Dan Dolan may have set the record for campaign snafus, according to The Quad-City (Iowa) Times. Dolan, a Republican, gave a stump speech at what he thought was a county Republican convention, but it was actually the Democratic convention.

Here’s what happened, according to the newspaper. Dolan is a candidate for the GOP nomination to challenge Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, in the 2nd Congressional District. During a busy campaign swing, including 10 scheduled speeches at county political conventions, Dolan arrived at the Monroe County Courthouse for the Republican convention in Albia, Iowa.

Dolan rushed in to give his speech. “I get done,” Dolan told the newspaper, “a guy raises his hand and says, ‘I think you want to talk to the Republicans.’”

Turns out, Dolan was speaking to the wrong crowd. The Republicans and Democrats both were holding their convention in the same building – Republicans at 1 p.m., Democrats two hours earlier at 11 a.m.

Monroe County Supervisor Denny Ryan said nobody asked enough questions before Dolan began speaking. Both sides took the misstep in good humor. Ryan called Dolan a “great guy” who “didn’t offend anybody.” As for Dolan, he deadpanned, “I’m not sure how many votes I won in the room that day.”

But Dolan said he and his staff learned their lesson. “From that point on,” he told the Times, “we checked at every place we stopped. We said, ‘Is this the Republican convention?’”

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