Remember Randi Shannon, the Republican who was challenging incumbent Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis in Linn County last year before bizarrely dropping out of the race to accept a position as a senator of the Republic of the united States of America? She’s old news by now, but on April Fools’ Day Jeff Patch, managing editor of the Iowa Republican, ran a sprawling expose on Shannon detailing how she managed to ingratiate herself with local pols that’s worth a read anyway.
“This story is not an April Fools’ Day joke. But the absurd saga is almost too bizarre to believe,” Patch writes. Then he launches into a 4,000 word story detailing Shannon’s Ms. Minnesota victory at the Hog’s Breath Saloon in Minneapolis, conspiratorial beliefs, shady business dealings in Las Vegas and Florida, and fleeting encounters with Iowa politicians, among other things.
Before she joined RuSA, an anti-government group “plagued by criminality,” Shannon also apparently broke Iowa campaign finance laws during her state Senate race by accepting a corporate contribution and neglecting to file reports.
One of the story’s central claims, that Shannon’s Florida business dealings may have been a front for escort service, is pretty speculative (but still far from implausible), but Patch’s investigation is otherwise a well-researched and thoroughly entertaining read.
As a postscript, Patch acknowledges his article’s timeliness problem:
This April Fools’ Day story might strike some as strange. Why does it matter? Why devote 4,000 words to a narrative chronicling the ins-and-outs of a failed candidate for Iowa Senate who seized her 15 minutes of freak fame in 2012?
First, it’s a fascinating saga that highlights good, the bad and the ugly of grassroots Iowa politics. Second, TheIowaRepublican.com takes seriously our charge, as journalists in the First in the Nation caucus state, to hold politicians accountable and cover the proceedings of our government—even our fake Republic.
TheIowaRepublican.com conducted in-person interviews with key activists in Eastern Iowa, scoured public records in more than three states, obtained emails and background from Republican operatives involved in the race, consulted experts on the sovereign movement, and analyzed statements in social and traditional media to chronicle the rise of Randi Shannon, the U.S. Senator for the Republic of the united States.