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March 29th, 2014

Live Blog: RPI Chair Election, Spiker’s Final Day

Greetings and welcome to’s live blog of what is sure to be an interesting day at RPI headquarters. Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A.J. Spiker officially steps down today and current Co-Chair is likely to take his place. Carroll is the only announced candidate for chair.

However, there are members of the committee who do not plan to vote in support of Carroll. Longtime SCC member David Chung has publicly said he will not vote for Carroll, even if he is the only candidate. Chung said the same about Gopal Krishna, a seven-term committee member who is the only announced candidate for co-chair.

Regardless of who gets elected today, there is a strong chance they could be removed from office once the new SCC takes over in June after the GOP state convention.

Along with the elections, there could be an effort by the current SCC to make drastic rules changes. Stay tuned.

Remember to hit ‘REFRESH’ often to keep updated.

10:58 The meeting is scheduled to start at 11. Right now, lots of milling about and mingling. Some interested activists are on hand. There are some SCC members who very rarely come to meetings, mainly from the “liberty” contingent, who are here today. Others not able to make it will vote by proxy.

11:01 Someone told me yesterday that RPI Finance Chair Drew Ivers was cleaning out his office. I replied to surprise that he had one, since his claim that he would go after “the big money donors” was never followed through on.

11:03 Meeting called to order. Here we go.

11:05 And it begins quickly> Tamara Scott, who works with Danny Carroll as a lobbyist for The Family Leader, nominates Danny Carroll for chairman.

11:06 Scott is singing his praises. Obviously she decided not to recuse herself despite the conflict of interest in working with Carroll elsewhere.

11:07 Scott: “He knows Iowa and loves her people…” She says Carroll knows how to raise money. Name drops past chairs Chuck Larson and Stew Iverson.

11:08 Scott: “No matter what faction of the party…Danny can bring them together.” REALLY?

11:09 This is a man who refuse to support our Republican candidate for governor in the general election in 2010 and railed against the GOP. Now he wants to run the party.

11:10 Scott says it was “most considerate” of A.J. Spiker to offer his resignation but stay on for two weeks.

11:11 Scott takes a shot at Bruce Braley with a comment about “one who understands the value of Iowa farmers…” Scott done. Mark Doland seconds the nomination. No one else nominated.

11:11 Danny Carroll is elected new RPI chairman. It was done by voice vote. Some members abstained, but no objections were voiced.

11:12 Since Carroll is the new chairman, they need to elect a new co-chair. That will be Gopal Krishna.

11:13 Carroll just said the current SCC represents “a good cross section of the Republican Party”. Yes, really. Despite the disproportionate amount of Ron Paul supporters and staffers.

11:14 Carroll says we need to increase fundraising, voter registration, protect our First-in-the-Nation status, get organized for the district conventions.

11:15 Carroll finished speaking. No one applauded. He says he’d like Spiker to finish chairing the meeting. Carroll then suggested breaking for lunch.

11:16 Nominations now for secretary. Mark Doland is resigning that position. David Cushman nominates Tony Krebsbach. Only candidate. By voice acclamation, Krebsbach is the new RPI secretary. He is one of those from the “liberty” wing.

11:17 Mark Doland nominates Gopal Krishna for co-chair. Joel Kurtinitis seconds. He is elected co-chair by voice vote. There were apparently four nays. David Chung, Steve Scheffler, Jamie Johnson and Cody Hoefert were the nays. Johnson and Hoefert by proxy.

11:19 Krishna did a very brief speech. They are now taking a break for lunch and will reconvene at 12:30.

11:20 So, there you have it. Danny Carroll is the new RPI chairman, Gopal Krishna is co-chair, Tony Krebsbach is the new secretary. John Kabitzke apparently remains treasurer. He’s the only one who did not resign his position.

11:21 I’ll return in they reconvene at 12:30, so feel free to rejoin the live blog then.

12:20 Back from lunch. I’ve been reassured there were five people who abstained from voting for Danny Carroll as chair: Ryan Frederick, Steve Scheffler, David Chung, Cody Hoefert and Jamie Johnson, with the last two done by proxy. However, it will likely go down on the RPI record as unanimous. It wasn’t.

12:24 BTW, RPI ordered pizza for lunch. I went to McDonalds. Southern style chicken sandwich with fries and sweet tea. I wanted bottled water but they didn’t have any. It was quite tasty.

12:26 Things to look for this afternoon: Will the SCC try to ram through any major RPI rules’ changes?

12:27 The problem is that right now, the Ron Paul wing still has enough votes to ram things through.

12:28 There will also need to be an election to fill Gopal Krishna’s seat on the Third District SCC. Since he is now co-chair, he is no longer a voting member of the SCC. It’ll be interesting to see if they realize that. I’m also wondering if/when an election will be set to fill Krishna’s vacancy They might just wait until next month’s district conventions.

12:30 A commenter asked if RPI staff will be kept in place. New Chairman Danny Carroll has not commented on that one way or another. I’ll try to find out.

12:33 Let’s play the feud… Still not reconvened

12:34 Here we go…

12:35 Danny Carroll is now chairing the meeting. Spiker chaired through the officer elections. Carroll is providing the legislative update, since he’s there all the time as a lobbyist.

12:37 Loras Schulte is mentioning some of our vacant House election seats, including HD 40 (Urbandale).

12:39 BTW, I’m told Schulte and presumably Bob Anderson also abstained from voting for Carroll for chair, so that brings the total to seven against him, even though he had no competition.

12:41 We’re now getting updates from the college Republicans, Republican Women, etc.

12:42 I’m going to assume there were seven nays for Krishna as well. That means 11 for, 7 against both the new chairman and co-chair.

12:43 Branstad campaign director Jake Ketzner providing an update on their race.

12:44 Now doing “officer reports”. I’ll update when something else interesting happens.

12:45 Ryan Frederick just asked Chairman Carroll when there would be an election to fill the now-vacant Third District seat. Carroll said he didn’t know right now, but would have to look at that. Frederick requested that it be done BEFORE district convention, which is April 26.

12:52 RPI’s press release says Carroll was elected unanimously. He wasn’t.

12:54 The SCC campaign committee says proposed changes to the bylaws have been tabled until May 17. They also decided State Auditor Mary Mosiman should chair the state convention. The committee’s motion is approved.

12:55 So Mary Mosiman will apparently chair the Iowa GOP state convention.

1:08 Nothing big happening. They did congressional district reports and now Steve Scheffler is giving the national committee reports, talking about site selection, etc.

1:17 Scheffler is talking about new RNC rules that don’t necessarily bind Iowa’s delegates, but that they must be “proportional” somehow. Exactly what that would look like remains to be seen. Of course, led by then-Chairman Spiker, 22 of Iowa’s 28 delegates voted for the third place Iowa Caucus finisher at the national convention.

1:19 BTW, A.J. Spiker has left the building.

1:20 Tamara Scott is extolling the virtues of RPI’s fundraising. I doubt she’ll mention they’ve spent significantly more than they took in over the last few months in their federal account. And the federal account is the one that matters.

1:21 During the lunch break, I chatted with Tamara Scott for several minutes on why her vote (and nomination) of Danny Carroll is a conflict of interest, since they both are paid lobbyists for The Family Leader.

1:22 Scott says A.J. did not criticize those who disagreed with him. I can assure you that he did. RPI’s database was used to attack this particular website, and yes, we have the proof. Spiker denied it happened. There are dozens of other instances.

1:24 BTW, Spiker threw Steve Scheffler under the bus this morning by heaping praise on him during the chairman’s farewell email. By talking about how closely they worked together, Spiker knew it could turn people against Scheffler, who has moved away from the “liberty” wing.

1:26 Bob Anderson is now talking about the necessity of making sure the caucus vote is protected and the national delegate vote should reflect that.

1:27 New Chairman Danny Carroll on the Ames Straw Poll: “It’s just a straw poll. It means a little bit, but it doesn’t mean a lot.” Way to sell it, Mr. Chairman.

1:30 Treasurer John Kabitzke is talking about a 2009-10 audit. The FEC found two problems. One won’t result in any fine. The other is a failure to disclose debt. A final finding on that has not been issued.

1:33 They’re now throwing Matt Strawn under the bus. Keeping it classy.

1:34 Now talking about their anti-Common Core resolution, prompting a rant from Tamara Scott.

1:41 David Chung just made a motion to buy a conference phone, which would be helpful for members who can’t always make the trip to Des Moines. Motion approved.

1:42 And with that, the meeting is adjourned. Most of the business beyond officer elections has been pushed back until the May meeting.

Thanks for reading the live blog. I’ll see you tomorrow in Kevin’s Korner. Bruce Braley might get some free publicity in it.

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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