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February 11th, 2012

AJ Spiker Elected Iowa GOP Chairman; Live Blog, Video Added

AJ Spiker won a narrow election Saturday morning to become the new chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. Spiker eked by interim chairman Bill Schickel by a 9-8 vote on the second ballot. Spiker is a realtor from Ames, the former chairman of the Story County GOP, and represented Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District on the State Central Committee. He served as one of the co-chairs for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in Iowa. Spiker replaces former chairman Matt Strawn, who resigned in the middle of his second term. Strawn’s last official day on the job was Friday.

“It feels great. I look forward to working with the committeeman,” Spiker told “Iowa Republicans can expect a party that’s ready to go into the fall election and is battle-ready. We have a great staff here. They can expect the staff to continue to work on the goals we’ve been working on and relatively few changes at RPI.” (WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW) live blogged the State Central Committee meeting Saturday morning, which you can read below:

LIVE BLOG: RPI Elects New Chairman

The Iowa GOP State Central Committee meets this morning and there is a strong likelihood that a new RPI Chairman will be elected. Matt Strawn stepped down Friday and co-chair Bill Schickel takes over as the interim chairman until an election is held. There are three known contenders for the seat: Schickel, fellow state central committee member AJ Spiker, and Polk County GOP Co-Chair Dave Funk.

The competition is expected to be a very close one between Schickel and Spiker. Spiker was one of the co-chairs for Ron Paul’s Iowa campaign and he almost certainly already has the support of other Paul backers Drew Ivers, David Fischer, Jeremiah Johnson, and James Mills. There are 17 voting members of the state central committee. is on the scene at RPI headquarters for the meeting and will provide updates as the meeting progresses. It gets underway at 11 am.

Hit “Refresh” often for updates.

10:36 am-The State Central Committee is currently meeting in sub-committee gatherings. The full committee convenes as 11 am. Chairman hopeful Dave Funk is here, with supporter Richard Rogers. Also in attendance is Iowa Federation of College Republicans Chairwoman Natalie Ginty and Secretary Colin Tadlock. is the only media presence here, so far.

10:51 am – BTW, due to an email sent out yesterday by Polk County GOP fundraiser Darrell Kearney, there has been some conspiracy theorists thinking “the fix is in” for this election. The email invited people to a conservative breakfast with “new chairman” Bill Schickel. The email was a draft and not meant to be sent out until next week, and whoever wins the election will speak at that breakfast. No conspiracy, folks.

10:55 am – One “prominent” SCC member finally showed up. 55 minutes late. For the sub-committee meetings, that is.

11:01 am – The sub-committee meetings are wrapping up and members are trickling into the main room.

11:04 am – Here are the voting SCC members:

Co-Chair/Interim Chairman- Bill Schickel

National Committeeman – Steve Scheffler

National Committeewoman – Kim Lehman

1st District – Chelle Adkins, Jeremiah Johnson, John Ortega

2nd District – David Chung, Trudy Caviness, Emily Lofgren

3rd District – Wes Enos, Gopal Krishna, David Fischer

4th District – James Mills, AJ Spiker, Drew Ivers

5th District – Tim Moran, Craig Williams, Monte Shaw

11:06  am – The meeting is now called to order.

11:07 am – The prayer and pledge are done. Now calling roll. Everyone is present.

11:08 am – It looks like election of the new chair is first item on the agenda.

11:12 am – Gopal Krishna opposed the motion to have the election today. He was the only one. There are three nominees, the ones we suspected: Funk, Spiker and Schickel.

11:13 am – They will each speak for 5 minutes, in order of nomination. Bill Schickel up first.

11:14 am – Schickel congratulates the SCC on all the GOP successes of the past 12 months. “You’ve done tremendous work.” Asks those in attendance to applaud the SCC. Calls Chad Olsen and RPI staff “the best political staff…”

11:15 am – Schickel thanks Spiker and Funk for running and says whoever is elected will have his “110 %” support.

11:16 am – “My goal is to build this party from the ground up…. We need to welcome the 14,000 new Republicans that registered to vote in the caucuses…”

11:16 am – Wants each precinct chair to register one new Republican voter and that would send Republicans over Iowa Democrats in voter registration numbers.

11:16 am – Schickel: “We need to bring people together…. We had a little family fight over the caucuses, but when we have our nominee, we must all come together…. We have to reach out for Republicans, independents and Democrats… We need to reach out into all areas… “

11:17 am – Schickel on the caucuses: “Our caucuses are a shining example of the very best of democracy in action… .We need to fix what we did wrong but promote what we did right…. We did about 97 things right and 3 things wrong… “

11:18 am – Schickel wrapping up. AJ Spiker up now.

11:18 am – Spiker: Thanks the 16 SCC members and executive director Chad Olsen for taking his calls over the last few weeks. Says he notified the Governor’s office and Speaker Paulson. “I will work tirelessly to make sure Iowa remains the first in the nation.”

11:20 am – “Governor Branstad is a tremendous asset we have as a party and a great closer and I will use him to seal the deal when we need him…”

11:20 am – Spiker: ” We had the most successful caucus that we have ever had.” Pledges to go around the counties and talk to chairs about what went right and what went wrong.

11:21 am – Spiker: “One of my goals by the end of the year will be to have more Republicans than Democrats… “

11:21 am – Spiker: “I have worked with several staffs politically over the years and we have a phenomenal staff here… The last thing I would want to see is to have a new staff …. ” Says Chad Olsen agreed to stay on as executive director if AJ is elected.

11:22 am – Spiker: “My daughter attends private school so I know how important fundraising is…. ” Says he is self-employed (realtor) and involved in non-profit fundraising.

Spiker wrapping now. Dave Funk up next.

11:23 am – Funk is distributing copies of the petitions that he had signed in support of his chairman campaign.

11:24 am – Funk “How did we get here today?… Because we had some problems with the caucuses…. “

11:25 am – Funk also circulated a list of donors he’s secured as congressional candidate and Polk County GOP co-chair. Trumpeting his fundraising prowess and mentions setting up a small donor program.

11:25 am – Funk: “You all know how difficult it will be in the dry period….” (after the presidential election is over…)

11:26 am – Says Strawn was the best chair RPI ever had. “Maintaining continuity of staff and maintaining continuity of the chairman is crucial….”

11:27 am – Funk: “It’s real easy to be the chair when you’re going into the Straw Poll and into the caucuses…because you’re on TV.. ” Do we want a chairman who will go out and fight for you….

Funk done. Secret ballots now being passed out.

11:28 am – Funk and Schickel both gave very good speeches. Spiker’s was decent, but a little drier than the other two.

11:30 am – It appears there will also be an election for secretary. Tim Moran is the interim secretary.

11:31 am = Vote tallies: Schickel 8, Spiker 8, Funk 1

There will be a re-vote. Schickel and Spiker were both allowed to vote, obviously for themselves.

11:32 am – Second ballot coming up…

11:34 am – I thought maybe Funk was eliminated after the first ballot, but apparently not.

New vote:

AJ Spiker is the new RPI Chairman. He won 9-8.

11:36 am – AJ Spiker takes the gavel as the official chairman. Says he looks forward to working with Bill Schickel as co-chair and Chad Olsen as the executive director.

11:37 am – There is discussion now on how to fill Spiker’s seat in the Fourth District. The current by-law requires 60 days. Spiker suggests 75 days so it could be done at convention.

11:39 am – Also taking nominations for secretary. Will convene a phone conference in two weeks to discuss AJ Spiker’s seat in the Fourth District in two weeks, to determine if a special election will be required.

11:41 am – They will have a teleconference on February 27 to discuss a by-law change in regards to electing AJ Spiker’s replacement.

11:43 am – Now opening the floor for nominations for secretary. Tim Moran, the interim secretary is nominated. No one else is nominated. Moran remains the SCC secretary by unanimous acclimation.

11:45 am – They are now adjourning for lunch, and that wraps up the live blog.

Congratulations to AJ Spiker ,of Ames, the new Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.

Photo by Dave Davidson,

About the Author

Kevin Hall

Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor’s office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad’s 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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