2016 watch: Iowa GOP chairman to step down, heads to Rand Paul PAC
March 9th, 2014
04:08 PM ET
9 months ago

2016 watch: Iowa GOP chairman to step down, heads to Rand Paul PAC

(CNN) – In a move that is generating even more 2016 presidential buzz, the chairman of Iowa’s Republican Party is leaving his position to work for Rand PAC, a group that supports Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

A.J. Spiker, who’s been chairman since February 2012, sent a letter to Iowa GOP committee members Friday, saying that he was stepping down and that elections for a new chairman would take place on March 29, according to a statement released Saturday by the state party.

Spiker said he would stay in his role until a new chairman is elected.

The party said he’ll leave the group “with more than $300,000 cash on hand, zero debt and with a voter registration advantage for Republicans” over Democrats in Iowa.

Spiker will become an adviser for Rand PAC, a staff member with the political group confirmed. Paul is seriously considering a presidential bid.

The Des Moines Register in Iowa first reported Spiker’s next job.

Iowa, the first state to hold nominating contests in presidential election years, is closely watched by political observers, and its party organization can play a crucial role in presidential campaigns.

Spiker was the Iowa chairman of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in 2012. Rick Santorum bested Mitt Romney by just 34 votes in the state’s caucuses. Each candidate captured 25% of the vote, with Ron Paul coming in not far behind at 21%.

Spiker and other members of what’s described as the “liberty” faction of the state GOP took over the party two years ago, according to the Des Moines Register.

The chairman’s announcement Saturday came the same day as mainstream Republicans attempted to take back control of the Iowa GOP with a strong showing at county party conventions, the Register reported.

The state traditionally holds the Ames straw poll the summer before the primary and caucus calendar begins. While it’s a highly anticipated event, critics, including GOP Gov. Terry Branstad, have been arguing in the past year that it’s a tradition that should be cast aside, saying it’s a poor indicator of the actual caucus results.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, for example, won the straw poll in 2011 but came in a disappointing sixth place in the caucuses months later. She then dropped out of the race.

As chairman, Spiker has forcefully defended the straw poll, saying it’s "possibly the best way for a presidential campaign to organize" for the Iowa caucuses, and the state's Republican committee has favored keeping the poll.

CNN’s Kevin Bohn and Steve Brusk contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2016 • Iowa • Rand Paul
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Never give up your day job dummy. At least not for this loser.

    March 9, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Rand Paul will make the cover of GQ , he's has the look of today's Aqua Buddha .

    March 9, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    This JOKE teaparty CLOWN will never be president . Maybe you should get a NEW wig to get a couple more votes that won't do you any good!!!!!

    March 9, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Ren

    Paul is the best presidential candidate thus far.
    Paul 2016

    March 9, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Stop the presses! This just in from Bikini Bottom! Mr. Krabs want's Senator Paul to take Squidward off his head and return him NOW!

    March 9, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  6. tom l

    The mindless comments from the left are typical. Rand Paul is the one guy from the repubs that actually agrees with you in several issues but you're just too partisan to see it. Sad. Maybe some day you'll realize that both parties are just gangs. Crips vs. bloods.

    March 9, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  7. Aaron

    I voted for Obama in 2012.....but will be voting for Rand this time around. I know all my friends that are democrats like Rand as we'll. I predict Rand could recieve 30% of the liberal vote. He would be an unstoppable force due to his crossover appeal.

    March 9, 2014 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  8. penguin

    The thought of Rand Paul becoming President scares and nauseates me. But it is possible he could become President

    March 9, 2014 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  9. Debbie

    Dandy Randy is a Darwin Libertarian. No we in Darwin Libertarianism. Just me, myself, and I. No liberty and justice for all. No We the People. No to form a more perfect Union. Just Darwin Libertarianism of liberty of the individual is the strongest survive and the rest are in bondage. That's Dandy Randy.

    March 9, 2014 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  10. kcyankee

    Steer that thing even farther to starboard! Watch it founder on the shoals of the General Election. Strand with Rand!

    March 9, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  11. termlimits

    More stench coming from the left. Not a statesman in view. Socialism will vanish into the trash heap of history.

    March 9, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  12. DENNA

    I've seen the latest crop of Teapublicans. Seriously, can't they find someone who does not talk like a fool and looks nuts? My favorite is Ted Cruz. I just stare at him while listening to the drivel that falls from his mouth. The Republicans would do better to dig up their patron saint, Ronald Reagan and run him again. LOL with the GOP mentality, his bones would probably win.

    March 9, 2014 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Pull the corn out of your ears! When Rant reveals to reveal what nation in the history of our planet has had sustainable, broad-based economic prosperity and social justice as a result of the policies he claims would be oh-so-good for our country, THEN folks should consider voting for him.

    In the meantime, go visit a third-world country where the top 1% own and control everything – including education and healthcare – and see up close and personal what Rant's dog-eat-dog worlds looks and feels like for the average person.

    I lived in Latin America growing up and I'll tell you this: If you're lucky enough to be born into a family of means, fine. But if you're not: you're screwed.

    Think about it!

    March 9, 2014 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  14. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Can not wait to see the absolute beating these clowns are going to suffer, come November.

    March 10, 2014 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  15. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The debt ceiling was just the start. Can't wait to see Grover Norquist and the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.

    March 10, 2014 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  16. Rob

    Time to drink TEA and get healthy america! We need cuts to spending and taxes. Why would you give more money to a government that cant even run a website, much less healthcare? Time magazine article said first thing the techs noticed was lack of leadership when they were called in to fix the website. Obama sucks! Stand with Rand 2016!!

    March 10, 2014 07:46 am at 7:46 am |