Scott County Republicans host Brown, Branstad in Bettendorf

Scott County Republicans take the political spotlight for the annual Ronald Reagan Dinner in Bettendorf on Tuesday night.

Some 320 guests will pay $50 per plate at the Waterfront Convention Center. They’ll get a snapshot of upcoming national, state and local races.

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown will talk about how the GOP can once again be the party of good ideas.

Republicans are regrouping after the 2012 presidential election. Mitt Romney’s defeat in Scott County sent a clear message to local leaders.

“We took a day after the election to mourn,” said Judy Davidson, chairman of Scott County Republicans. “We dusted ourselves off, stood up again and got working right away.”

The Reagan dinner is a major fundraiser for Scott County Republicans.

“We’ve done some things in terms of the last seven or eight months, trying to reach out to certain demographics that we know we need to do as a result of what happened in 2012.

With longtime Democrat Tom Harkin planning to retire from the senate, Republicans are ramping up to win back that seat and move closer to a senate majority.

“A lot of energy is headed toward the senate because we don’t want to see (Bruce) Braley in there,” said John Ortega, Scott County Republicans.

Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley is raising money and campaigning statewide for Harkin’s seat. Republicans would like nothing better than to keep him out.

“We don’t want to miss that opportunity,” Davidson said. “We are doing whatever we can to take over that seat.”

While this is a time for strategy and surprises, it’s also a chance for local Republicans to shine.

Gov. Terry Branstad will share his vision for Iowa. It’s a vision that also needs to make the Republican party more appealing.

“We get a lot of volunteers from this event to help us for the coming elections,” Ortega said.

After 2012 defeats, they’re crafting a revised and reset Republican party that’s ready to respond.