RNC Chairman Reince Priebus speaks at the Republican Party of Iowa last month after his Iowa listening sessions in advance of releasing the RNC’s Growth & Opportunity Project.
DES MOINES—At a marathon meeting of the governing board of the Republican Party of Iowa, members set the date for the 2014 caucuses and moved to form executive committees in the state’s four congressional districts.
Republicans will gather for precinct caucuses Jan. 25, a county convention March 8, a district convention April 26 and the state convention June 14.
As the April 1 deadline has passed for county parties to elect officers, the Republican Party of Iowa has approved the formation of executive committees in Iowa’s four congressional districts. RPI plans to distribute grassroots training manuals to party activists and allow county officers to elect a chair, co-chair, secretary, treasurer and other officers at their discretion. District committees could also elect an executive director and fundraise for district-specific events.
“All we’re talking about is trying to get together and get to know each other,” said Loras Schulte, an SCC member from the First Congressional District. “If a county chair wants to yell at us for a bit that’s fine. I’ve got broad shoulders and a thick skin.”
The party has not had district-level committees for years.
“These things have been abandoned that never should have been abandoned, and it’s weakened the party over the years,” RPI Chairman A.J. Spiker said during the seven hour meeting.
Spiker will send out a call to all chairs and co-chairs in Iowa’s 99 counties to hold a district-level meeting at a time and place to be determined by Spiker in consultation with SCC members and county chairs.
“It would empower these counties who feel more distant than they ought to feel in something as more important as politics,” said Jamie Johnson, an SCC member from the Fourth Congressional District. “We’ve got to give counties a stake in this.”
Johnson said that the committees would help the party decentralize power and allow regional leaders to host Republican events geared toward their constituents, especially in the run-up to the 2016 presidential caucuses.
“Iowa’s not a monolithic state,” he said. “The national media wants to paint us that way, but we’re not.”
SCC members also discussed a pending Federal Election Commission audit, mileage reimbursement for SCC member travel, the RNC’s Growth & Opportunity Project and a resolution to prohibit the party from using its resources in contested primaries.
Iowa House Majority Whip Chris Hagenow, R-Windsor Heights, provided an update following the 12th week of the legislative session. Hagenow said that House Republicans’ priorities include tax and education reform. He contrasted the GOP push for more limited government with Democrats’ budget proposals, which call for an 11 percent increase in state spending.
“We will not pass a budget that is not balanced,” he said. “We will not pass a budget that spends one time dollar on ongoing expenses.”
Hope remains that major legislation will pass this session as the 2014 election year will likely slow most proposals “with half of the legislators in the building looking to run for higher office,” he said.
Members also heard from Jeanita McNulty, the president of the Iowa Federation of Republican Women, who encouraged people to attend a five-state conference of the National Federation of Republican Women in Davenport April 20-21 [registration form here]. The Iowa chapter has increased to more than 900 members, the 7th largest chapter increase in the county.
“After Sen. Paul’s filibuster, he caught the attention of about everybody,” Spiker said, noting that Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, will also speak. “We happened to be one of the early states that snagged his attention.”
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