Chairman Spiker

This Saturday the State Central Committee met and elected AJ Spiker as chairman to replace Matt Strawn. There was a great deal of speculation as to whether the committee would even hold an election on Saturday. As I posted earlier there were three candidates: Dave Funk, Bill Schickel and AJ Spiker.

There are plenty of posts out there speculating on the how AJ managed to get a majority, whether the neocons or the establishment are pleased or scared, whether the neocons are the establishment … I am going to stay away from the conspiracy theories.

What I want to do is focus on our new chairman. First let me say that it is no secret that I supported Bill Schickel for chairman. I was the one who nominated Bill during the meeting. There are some out there clamoring to know how various SCC members voted. If you want to know how your SCC member voted — ask them.

As you know by know, Spiker was elected on the second ballot. On the first ballot the votes were Spiker 8, Schickel 8 and Funk 1. On the second ballot the vote was Spiker 9, Schickel 8 and Funk 0. For those demanding more openness, I would remind you that before I was elected to the SCC votes for chairman were held in secret and not even the SCC knew the vote counts only who had won. The SCC then voted to declare the results unanimous. As an outsider it was impossible to even know who ran for the office. We’ve come a long way.

It is no secret that I believe that SCC members should remain neutral in contested caucuses and primaries. However there is no such requirement in the RPI Constitution or Bylaws. Further it was no secret to the 4th district delegates who elected AJ to the SCC knew that he was involved in the Campaign for Liberty and would be a Ron Paul supporter. Since his election, AJ has resigned from his paid position with the Paul campaign and has taken time to assure SCC members that he will support our eventual nominee and not meddle in the delegate selection process. (I joked to AJ that he would be the only SCC member who was not trying to rig the delegate selection.)

The reason that I encouraged the SCC to hold the vote this Saturday instead of waiting was to provide continuity. The Caucuses are over but the big event is really the November elections. Along the way we have county, district and state conventions to run and a Victory Program to implement. I felt that it was important to provide some continuity in this process. Leaving the chairmanship open until the new SCC would put the staff in a form of limbo and it would not be a surprise if many of them jumped ship in the meantime. While having a new chairman now does not guarantee staff continuity it means that any changes that occur will be likely to occur sooner rather than later and open positions could be filled in a a timely fashion.

The SCC also agrreed to give notice and hold a teleconference to amend the RPI bylaws. The purpose of the bylaw change is to prevent the (old) 4th district from having to replace AJ on the SCC for a term lasting only a few days. If a new member were to be elected they would likely not even attend a meeting since there are no meeting scheduled for the interim.

If there is a conspiracy here no one bothered to include me!

In the end I agree with Craig Robinson, the naysayers out there should give AJ a chance

. AJ is a sharp guy, he has served as a county GOP chair and has statewide campaign experience with the Ron Paul campaign. AJ and I have not always seen eye to eye on issues but I can always count on him to keep his word. I consider AJ to be a friend and know him to be a man of integrity. I think AJ has an opportunity to be an excellent RPI Chairman and he deserves our support.

The RPI Chairman’s Race

With the recent resignation of Matt Strawn, the Republican Party of Iowa finds itself once again looking for a chairman. So far only one candidate, Dave Funk, has publicly announced his candidacy. Current party co-chair Bill Schickel’s name has come up in the discussion of chair candidates. But so far, none of the newspapers or blogs that I read have mentioned any other candidates.

Let me start by going over some procedure. Neither the RPI constitution nor by-laws define the process for replacing an RPI chairman. There is no requirement for notification or waiting period before the election. The State Central Committee is holding a regularly scheduled meeting this Saturday, February 11th at RPI headquarters in Des Moines. At this point the agenda simply calls for the committee to set the date for the election. However, I believe that it is very likely that the committee will choose to elect a new chairman this Saturday. I will support holding the election this Saturday. This meeting, like all other SCC meetings will be open to the public. The SCC committees will meet at 10 am and the full SCC will meet at 11 am.

I think the shortened election/campaign cycle is necessary moving forward so that staff will not have to wait long to know whether they will be retained by a new administration and can continue to work towards Republican victory in 2012. With that in mind, I still believe that it is important that Republicans across the state know who is running for chairman and have the opportunity to let their SCC reps know their feelings on the issue. Therefore, in this post I present the field of candidates (at least those who have approached me) for RPI Chairman.

Bill Schickel

Pictured above on the left, Bill is the current RPI co-chair. Bill was elected last July, to replace Jim Kurtenbach who had resigned to join the Palwenty campaign. Bill has been an SCC member and is a former legislator and mayor. He is currently general manager at KCMR, a Mason City Christian Radio Station. On last Friday’s Iowa Press, Governor Branstad endorsed Schickel’s candidacy for chairman.

Dave Funk

Pictured above in the middle, Dave is the current Polk County GOP co-chair. Funk ran in a three-way congressional primary to unseat Leonard Boswell. He is often associated with the Tea Party. Funk is a retired Northwest Airlines captain and National Guard officer. He currently works for Laird & Associates an Aviation Security and Operations consulting firm. Funk recently served as the Iowa co-chairman of Strong America Now.

AJ Spiker

Pictured above on the right, AJ is a current member of the RPI State Central Committee. AJ is a past Story County GOP chairman and works as a Realtor in Ames. AJ also serves on the board of the Ames Area Economic Development Council and the Ames Chamber of Commerce. In the 2012 caucuses, Spiker served as Iowa Vice-Chair of Ron Paul 2012.

That is the field as of February 6th, while it is possible that others may enter the race, I think the field is set. I believe that by early Saturday afternoon we will have a new RPI chairman. I welcome your input.