DES MOINES – The Republican Party of Iowa’s governing board on Saturday unanimously elected former state legislator Danny Carroll of Grinnell to serve as the party’s state chairman.
Carroll, 60, pledged to unify the party’s competing philosophical factions and work hard to elect Republicans in a 2014 election cycle where the governorship, legislative control and open seats in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House are up for grabs in an evenly divided “purple” state where independents help sway outcomes.
“I’m kind of excited, folks,” Carroll told members of the GOP state central committee who elevated him from the post of party co-chairman to the top slot, replacing Ames real estate broker A.J. Spiker as party chairman.
Spiker, a leader in the party’s liberty faction, resigned from his job at Iowa GOP headquarters to work for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s political action committee, RAND PAC. Spiker served as a member of the GOP state central committee from April 2010 until he was elected state chairman in February 2012 and the re-elected in January 2013.
Carroll and West Des Moines businessman Gopal Krishna, who was elected party co-chairman on a 14-4 verdict, said they planned to seek to retain their new roles after a new state central committee emerges from the district convention delegate selection process. They said it would be best for the party to have continuity through the 2014 election by having them serve out the unexpired terms until January.
Tamara Scott, a GOP national committeewoman, told other state central committee member Saturday that Carroll “is the right man for the right job,” noting he has strong fiscal conservative, pro-life, recruiting and fundraising credentials after serving 10 years as a county supervisor and 12 years as a state legislator from 1994 to 2006.
“Danny will work to bring to Iowa to the forefront and, if others will work with him, we can ignite the Republican furor across the state that will carry across the nation,” Scott said in nominating Carroll for the party chairmanship.
Carroll has served as a Statehouse lobbyist for the Family Leader. He told reporters Saturday he expected to stay in some capacity with the Pleasant Hill conservative Christian organization but would end a contract relationship to lobby for the group.
He said his immediate goals are to assure smooth-operating district and state conventions, increase Republican voter registrations and fundraising efforts, and protect the first-in-the-nation position of the Iowa caucuses. He also supports continuing the party’s Iowa Straw Poll fundraising event in Ames that precedes the caucuses by several months.
"Political campaigns are hard work,” said Carroll. “It's time now for Republicans to get down to business and start knocking on doors, putting up signs, raising money and helping our candidates win in November.”
In a farewell “thank you” email to Republicans, Spiker said he was proud to leave a “leaner and more efficient” party with a voter registration advantage over Iowa Democrats, debt free with more than $300,000 cash on hand, and a strong social media presence that he urged his successors to continue.
“While social networking and an online presence may fall through the cracks as longtime politicos question its importance, I’d strongly urge the state party to keep active with them and realize the power it has,” he said. “In an age where our Republican Party must do more to attract young voters and a new generation that gets their news, and gives their donations, in different ways, we must adapt to the times as well.”
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