The Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee convened today to choose a successor to A.J. Spiker, who resigned as state party chair to work for U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s RandPAC. Danny Carroll, who became party co-chair in February, was the only person nominated for the chairman’s job. Carroll is a well-known social conservative and lobbyist for Bob Vander Plaats’ FAMiLY Leader organization. He served four terms in the Iowa House before losing his seat to Eric Palmer in 2006, then losing a rematch against Palmer in 2008. In 2010, he was a leading supporter of Vander Plaats’ gubernatorial campaign and famously vowed never to vote for Terry Branstad. Earlier this year Carroll told Radio Iowa that he and the governor have a “cordial” working relationship.
According to Kevin Hall’s liveblog of today’s proceedings, seven of the eighteen State Central Committee members abstained from the vote on Carroll. Later, an Iowa GOP press release indicated that there were no dissenting votes on Carroll’s nomination, prompting several members to tell the Des Moines Register that they inadvertently voted yes on Carroll, “mistakenly thinking they were casting a vote to close nominations and move to ballots.” Hall also argued that it was inappropriate for Iowa RNC Committeewoman Tamara Scott to nominate Carroll, since she and he are both paid lobbyists for the FAMiLY Leader.
Shortly after Carroll’s election, State Central Committee member Gopal Krishna was the only candidate nominated for state party co-chair. He has previously served as party treasurer, and he and Carroll both sought the position of party chair in early 2009. At that time the State Central Committee preferred Matt Strawn.
Carroll and Krishna may not remain in their new jobs for long, since a new Iowa GOP State Central Committee will be elected later this spring. UPDATE: Radio Iowa’s O.Kay Henderson posted audio and highlights from Carroll’s press conference on March 29. He confirmed that he will seek to stay on as party chair after the new State Central Committee takes over.