By all accounts it was an honest mistake, political party convention attendees said.
Republican congressional candidate Dan Dolan of Muscatine arrived early at the Monroe County Courthouse for the Republican convention being held Saturday in Albia, Iowa.
Unfortunately, the county Democrats were holding their convention in the same building, and Dolan spoke to the wrong group of people.
“Nobody asked enough questions before he started speaking,” Monroe County Supervisor Denny Ryan said. “It finally got to the point in the speech where one of the people said, ‘Are you sure you’re at the right convention?’”
Dolan laughed Monday when he described the encounter.
“It was a crazy day,” Dolan said. “We had scheduled 10 speaking engagements through the district.”
Dolan and a staffer arrived at the courthouse and headed up the stairs into the convention.
“My staffer runs up and says, ‘Hey, Dan Dolan is here. Can he speak?’ So they stopped everything, and I get up there and give my speech,” Dolan said. “I get done, a guy raises his hand and says, ‘I think you want to talk to the Republicans.’”
Ryan said he understood how such a goof-up could occur. The Republican convention was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., and the Democratic convention at 11 a.m.
“I could see where somebody might have left a one off,” he said. “Generally, how they work is these candidates are running their tails off trying to get into every convention.”
Dolan said he made it to nine other conventions and traveled several hundred miles to do so.
“I’m not sure how many votes I won in the room that day,” he said. “It was one of those silly things, but I think everybody was very, very good about it.”
Ryan said that the whole situation was comical.
“We just didn’t ask enough questions. He was very polite about things,” Ryan said. “He’s a great guy; he didn’t offend anybody.”
Dolan and John Archer of Bettendorf are campaigning for the GOP nomination to challenge Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, for the 2nd Congressional District seat.
While the day continued without hiccup and Dolan said he was heartened by the convention turnouts, he and his staff learned their lesson.
“From that point on, we checked at every place we stopped,” he said. “We said, ‘Is this the Republican convention?’”