Mark Doland, the secretary for the Republican Party of Iowa, wants to change the way the party selects its chairperson and co-chair. Instead of the 18 member State Central Committee deciding whom to place in charge of the party, the delegates to the state convention would become the ultimate arbiters.
“I just believe it’s the most open and transparent way of doing this,” Doland told TheIowaRepublican.com.
This is not a new idea from Mark Doland. He says he’s been working on it since 2008. Doland was a strong backer of Danny Carroll’s bid to become state chairman. The State Central Committee ultimately elected Matt Strawn to the position in a very close vote, in early 2009.
“At the time that Danny had announced his run, Matt Strawn was fairly unknown in Iowa politics. We didn’t feel like Danny got a fair shake and the grassroots weren’t supported,” Doland said.
This amendment, if it passes, would dramatically change the way the Republican Party of Iowa operates. State Central Committee members would lose the two most important decisions they make: electing the chair and co-chair. Doland sees that as a positive.
“I think that a lot of people run just for that purpose and then after they find themselves elected and they’ve elected a chair and a co-chair, one of their jobs they feel is done,” Doland said. “There’s a lot of the day-to-day operations of the party to deal with and I think that’s the kind of people that need to be in the role.”
Looking at the current turmoil inside the Iowa GOP, Doland believes there would be a lot less skepticism toward A.J. Spiker if the current chairman had been chosen by convention delegates instead of 18 board members.
Mark Doland was elected to the State Central Committee in 2012 and supported Chairman Spiker’s reelection in 2013. However, Doland notes that he is not part of the “Ron Paul wing” that dominates the SCC. He considers himself more aligned with the “Huckabee/Vander Plaats wing” of the party. Doland worked for Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign in 2011-12.
“I didn’t support Ron Paul and I wouldn’t do anything to support their wing of the party,” Doland said. “I did vote for A.J. because I line up with the way he wanted to promote the platform, but I was brought into being an activist by Mike Huckabee.”
The amendment Mark Doland is proposing also allows for a trigger to remove the chair or co-chair, with cause. The ouster would require support from 2/3 of the State Central Committee.
Doland says he has examined how other states elect their chairperson and noted that Virginia and Texas choose their state chairs via convention delegates. Although there would be drawbacks to this method, such as adding significant time and division to an already contentious convention, the RPI secretary believes the positives outweigh the negatives.
“I think the people that come out, who really care about the platform and organize for the conventions are going to be the ones that win,” Doland said. “If you want to be chair of the state party, or co-chair, you’re going to have to make your appeal to the grassroots, to the convention delegates.”
The next step is placing the proposed constitutional amendment onto the agenda for the state convention. The State Central Committee is scheduled to discuss that at their quarterly meeting this Saturday. If that succeeds, the amendment would require support from a simple majority at the state convention. Doland would also like it to go into effect at the 2014 convention.
NOTE: I originally wrote on Sunday that David Cushman proposed this amendment. That was in error and a correction was added early Sunday afternoon to that column. I apologize for the error.
You can read Doland’s proposed amendment below:
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