Although the drama regarding the 2014 Republican state convention and caucus date was resolved Monday night, the backlash against the leaders of the Republican Party of Iowa continues. The largest Republican county party in the state, the Polk County central committee, passed a resolution Tuesday night calling for the resignations of RPI Chairman A.J. Spiker and Co-Chair David Fischer.
The final vote was very close, 33-29, in favor the resolution. Two members (including this author) abstained. The Polk GOP motion followed a similar resolution unanimously passed by the Appanoose County GOP last week.
The motion was suggested by Polk GOP central committee member Richard Rogers, a longtime activist. He read directly from the written resolution, citing the controversy surrounding the state convention and caucus, as well as an overall mistrust of the leadership of the state party.
“I realize that the events of last night’s State Central Committee meeting, moving the dates of the caucuses and the convention change this slightly, but I do believe they were dragged kicking and screaming to that move,” Rogers said. “I think that it’s important that, whether the resignations are received or not, that these issues be laid out clearly well before our caucuses, so that these issues are well understood by everybody in the party as we approach the caucuses and the district conventions and selection of our next central committee.”
Following Rogers’ motion and prior to the vote, activists on both sides delivered impassioned speeches to the assembled members. Paul Sugg, a central committee member from West Des Moines, argued that Republicans’ focus should be on defeating Democrats, not each other.
“We’re going to have to work in a more unified fashion,” Sugg said. “A.J. Spiker was put in by a legitimate vote. I think that it is suicidal to say that we’re going to rip this bastard out right now by trying to go for his resignation. We are giving the liberals more penny ante ammunition and cannon fodder to shoot at us in the Des Moines Register. We can’t afford that.”
Dave Funk, the former co-chair of the county party, who also ran for state chairman in 2012, pointed out that both Spiker and Fischer have not ruled out running for the U.S. Senate, with Fischer buying sponsored ads on Facebook to promote his potential candidacy.
“They’re trying to manipulate the process to move the convention to give themselves an unfair advantage over the current candidates that are honestly out their working, while they’re abusing their position of power,” Funk said.
Opponents to the resolution suggested trying discuss these concerns directly with Spiker and Fischer. However, Funk, and others, pointed out that RPI leaders refuse to meet with them or return their phone calls.
RPI Co-Chair David Fischer is a member of the Polk County GOP central committee, but was not present at the meeting. In fact, he has not attended a meeting since new county leadership was elected in March.
Polk GOP Executive Director Ryan Keller said county leadership was presented with the resolution at the meeting. They were not involved in the drafting of the resolution and took no sides the issue. The resolution was not on the meeting’s agenda and was brought up under “new business”.
Polk County GOP Chairman Will Rogers is out of country on vacation. New Co-Chair Sherill Whisenand presided over the meeting.
BELOW IS A COPY OF THE RESOLUTION:
Photo by Dave Davidson
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