Some eyebrows were raised and some feathers ruffled back in June when 21 out of Iowa's 25 of Iowa's undeclared delegates went to Ron Paul supporters instead of to supporters of Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney, the state's top two finishers during Iowa's Republican Caucus.
But Ani DeGroot, 24, of Iowa City, one of those Ron Paul affiliated delegates heading to the Republican Convention in Tampa, said Tuesday that the tension between Liberty movement supporters and the rest of the Republican party is overblown.
"Our conservative values, limited spending, cutting the deficit, and defeating Obama: these are things I think we have in common that will actually unite us," DeGroot said. "I think we'll all come together at Tampa."
To that end, she says that she will support the Republican candidate who has the greatest chance of defeating President Barack Obama in November at the convention when it is held from Aug. 27 to 30. She said she's proud to represent Iowa City at the convention, as well as holding true to the conservative principles that she believes in.
DeGroot is a native of El Paso, Texas, but has lived in Iowa City since she was 10 and considers it her home town. DeGroot graduated from and was pursuing a double major in Economics and Political Science when she took a break from college to pursue an opportunity with the Ron Paul campaign.
Already an avid Ron Paul supporter, DeGroot moved up the ladder to become Deputy National Youth Director for the Ron Paul campaign, where she helped to organize and run Youth for Ron Paul chapters all over the country.
After Paul ended his presidential campaigning, DeGroot landed a spot as Director of Elections for the Young Americans for Liberty political action committee. As part of this role, DeGroot researches candidates who will potentially receive funding from YAL, and also works to educate young people on the value of conservative beliefs.
DeGroot said this opportunity to be a part of a young generation that is getting more involved in poltics is one of the most exciting things for her. She says that the dynamic of this race, and the potential of large deficits in the future has mobilized young voters to support candidates like Ron Paul.
"I think that's the aspect I'm most excited about, the fact that there's a lot of other young delegates are heading there as well," DeGroot said. "It's been fun to see so many young people so interested in electoral politics."
DeGroot is also excited to be on the Rules Committee at the convention. She said she hopes to put her training in Robert's Rules of Order that she learned while on the West High debate team to good use while trying to make the political process more repesentative of the every day person.
As for the most likely presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, DeGroot said she was somewhat heartened by the selection of Ryan, who is known for his budgets that feature spending cuts, but she's still waiting to see if they are willing to make the cuts she feels are essential.
"The choice shows Mitt Romney knows the people want government to cut spending and it will be a defining issue in November. It certainly is nice to see someone chosen who supports cutting spending but the question is whether they will actually do what is necessary, which is beyond what Ryan has suggested in the past," DeGroot said of Romney selecting Ryan as a running mate."