The Republican Party of Iowa — Time to Declare a Truce

First in the Nation … there is nothing like it. As Iowans, we (Republicans and Democrats alike) love our caucuses. But like many things in life being first is a mixed blessing.

On one hand, FITN gives us the unique opportunity to meet the candidates up close and in person. I have met a number of candidates in small group settings with just a handful of people. I have had the chance to ask difficult questions and look them in the eye as they answer. When Iowans decide, they decide based on an intimate knowledge of the candidates that no other state except perhaps New Hampshire can share.

On the other hand, FITN makes Iowans choose sides and choose them early. The amount of media attention and money showered on the state intensify everything about the process in Iowa. The battle for Iowa is bruising and never ending. In 2008 and 2012, potential candidates were back in the state within weeks of the election losses. Unlike the rest of the country, we fight the caucus battles year round. The recent RPI elections were the final battle in a war that began at the caucuses and continued through our  conventions.

I want to call upon my Republican friends across the state to call a truce. The elections of 2014 are too important to throw away because a particular faction did not prevail in this war

As the speculated, I was one of the SCC members who voted against AJ Spike and an David Fischer. The election didn’t turn out the way that I wanted but I am not going to take my ball and go home. There is too much at stake. 2014 is going to be a critical year with statewide races, the Iowa legislature and congressional seats all up for grabs. We cannot let the 2012 caucuses lead to defeat in 2014.

The RPI Chairman Race

AJ Spiker/Bill Schickel

This Saturday, the State Central Committee will meet in Des Moines to elect a chairman for the Republican Party of Iowa. There are no last minute candidates, at least not yet. The race has come down to two well known, experienced members of the State Central Committee, current RPI chairman AJ Spiker and current co-chairman Bill Schickel. Like the Iowa State bowl game, it is a rematch of the last chairman race when Matt Strawn stepped down. AJ won that contest by a single vote over Schickel.

In a previous post I wrote about the role of the RPI chairman and said;

… the single most important job an SCC member has is to elect a chairman for the Republican Party of Iowa.

The RPI chairman is elected by a majority vote of the State Central Committee. As I prepare to carry out this most important of my duties, I decided to take the opportunity and share some of my thoughts on the issue. I will start by saying that as an SCC member I have gotten to know Bill and AJ and I like them both.

Let me start by stating that as RPI chairman, AJ Spiker is not responsible for the Iowa GOP’s dismal electoral performances in 2012. On the other hand, he and the team he assembled (as well as the SCC) did not exactly lead the party to victory either.

We had the same situation in the recent past with Ray Hoffman when was RPI chair during the electoral train wreck of 2006. When the SCC chose to elect Hoffman to another term, I was so angry that I couldn’t talk to any of my friends on the committee for weeks. The re-election of Hoffman and the secrecy that surrounded it were key factors in my deciding to run for SCC.

Ray Hoffman was not the reason we got swept in 2006 and AJ Spiker is not the reason we got swept again in 2012. But, having lead the party to defeat, it was then and is now, time to search for new leadership.

Therefore, I am publicly supporting Bill Schickel for RPI chairman. My support for Bill is likely a Quixotic effort. I believe that the coalition of evangelicals and libertarians that elected AJ and swept our conventions in 2012 is strong enough to carry the day and re-elect AJ. I guess, it shouldn’t be a surprise, it sounds like the RNC will also re-elect Reince Priebus.

Whatever happened to the captain going down with the ship?