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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 is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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