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January 3rd, 2013

Republican Party of Iowa Meeting Primer

By Craig Robinson

The Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee will gather in Des Moines this weekend. The major piece of business in front of the committee is the selection of a chairman to lead the Republican Party of Iowa through the 2014 election cycle.

The race pits the current Chairman, Ames Republican A.J. Spiker against the current Co-Chairman of the party Bill Schickel of Mason City.  Spiker is favored to win re-election due to the strong presence of Ron Paul supporters and activists on the committee.  Spiker defeated Schickel a year ago when the Chairmanship was open due to the resignation of Matt Strawn.

While the outcome of the chairman election isn’t likely to surprise anyone, the vote will be the first public vote the committee has made since being elected at the Republican State Convention last summer.  The vote should give us an indication of just how strong the Paul presence is on the committee.  It will also be interesting to see whom the committee selects to be its co-chairman.

In addition to the chair election, the Republican Party of Iowa has other business it should address at the meeting.  Always a top concern is fundraising and the financial health of the party.  The Republican Party of Iowa will file its year-end financial disclosers in the coming days, so we currently don’t have an idea where the party stands in that regard.  The one thing that we do know is that outside of transfers from the RNC for the victory program, fundraising at the party has been dismal.

Another issue that deserves attention is the 2016 presidential caucuses.  The committee has done nothing in regards to the recommendation made by the Caucus Review Committee.  If substantial changes are going to be made, it’s essential that they be tested in the 2014 caucus.  That means changes need to be implemented and agreed upon this year.  The 2016 presidential clock is already ticking, and while it seems a long way off, 2014 offers the party its only option for a test run.

Maybe the biggest discussion point that needs to occur at the meeting is what purpose will the party serve in 2014.  That may seem like a comical question, but without a presidential campaign to steer and guide the party, mid-term election cycles often times lack structure.

The makeup of the central committee suggests that the party will want to focus on ideology instead of mechanics.   That is a natural instinct, but also one that will get them in the most trouble.  A wiser approach might be to help find a solution to the early voting woes the party has experienced in recent elections.  Voter turnout is the reason why President Obama and Democrats did so well in Iowa in 2012.

By the way, the Democrat edge over Republicans in registered voters continues to grow, albeit, very slowly.  Democrats now have a 5,580-registered voter advantage over Republicans.  In December, the Democrat lead among registered voters was 4,461.  On the statewide level, that number is insignificant, but as we saw last November, Republicans struggle to turn their voters out to the polls.  It would be wise for the Republican Party of Iowa to take steps to correct that problem.



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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson serves as the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prior to founding Iowa's largest conservative news site, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. In that capacity, Robinson planned and organized the largest political event in 2007, the Iowa Straw Poll, in Ames, Iowa. Robinson also organized the 2008 Republican caucuses in Iowa, and was later dispatched to Nevada to help with the caucuses there. Robinson cut his teeth in Iowa politics during the 2000 caucus campaign of businessman Steve Forbes and has been involved with most major campaigns in the state since then. His extensive political background and rolodex give him a unique perspective from which to monitor the political pulse of Iowa.

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