There is a new head of the Republican Party of Iowa. Again. Actually it’s the third chairman in the past two years. Republican activists selected Danny Carroll at a meeting Saturday. The decision shows party leaders still have work to do to unite Republicans, though. A member claims the vote wasn’t unanimous as the party claimed and instead was full of confusion.
Carroll is a former state lawmaker and lobbyist for the conservative Christian group, The FAMiLY Leader. Carroll had been serving as the co-chair of the party. He was also the chosen candidate of A.J. Spiker. Spiker resigned as chair to take a position with Rand PAC, the political action committee of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a possible 2016 presidential candidate. Spiker worked for the last two Iowa presidential campaigns of Paul’s father, Ron.
During his time as chair, Spiker and Gov. Terry Branstad didn’t see eye to eye on the party’s focus, organizing, and fundraising. But the new chair, Carroll, has a conflicting past with Branstad, too. Four years ago, Carroll criticized Branstad’s campaign and supported rival Bob Vander Plaats instead. Although Carroll says as chair he will work to re-elect Branstad as governor.
Carroll and Spiker followed Matt Strawn as party chairman. Strawn, like Spiker, resigned amid criticism. He prematurely called Mitt Romney the winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. Weeks later, certification of the results showed Rick Santorum had actually won. Strawn resigned at month’s end.
The last three party chairs also demonstrate the differing views of the party. Strawn was believed to be closer to the moderate/establishment wing of the party. Spiker was closer to the Libertarians. And Carroll has been tight with the social conservatives. All three wings have struggled for control of the party.