Des Moines, IA – The Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee changed leadership ousting former chair Danny Carroll in a 14-2 vote of no confidence that required a 2/3 majority vote. National Committeewoman Tamara Scott and Bill Gustoff were the only “no” votes. Sherill Whisenand and Gabe Haugland were not present at the meeting. The committee then elected former State Representative Jeff Kaufmann from Wilton, IA as their new chairman on a unanimous vote. Cody Hoefert, the chair of the Lyon County Republican Party, was elected co-chair also by a unanimous vote. Scott said she abstained from both votes out of respect for the bylaws that dictate that the chair is to be selected the January after a biennial election.
Carroll when introducing the new business said he was in an awkward position of presiding over his own removal. He noted that this is unprecedented. Scott in her remarks said it had been 40 years since a chair had been removed in this way. The Iowa GOP bylaws state that the Chair serves at the pleasure of the state central committee, and that the Chair and Co-Chair are elected in January after the biennial elections.
Loras Schulte made the motion for the vote of no-confidence he said with a “heavy heart.” David Chung seconded the motion.
Carroll said that he would like to know the reason why he is being fired, but isn’t sure. He said no one has discussed this personally with him. He insinuated that the reasons were do to his social conservative activism and his standing on biblical principles.
Chung, Jamie Johnson and National Committeeman Steve Scheffler said it had nothing to do with his values, indicating that they too are evangelicals. Chung said that Carroll did an admirable job through the conventions, but that he wasn’t the right leader for the upcoming elections. Schulte and Chung also noted that Carroll was discouraged from becoming the permanent chair and they wanted that decision to be made by the new committee.
Scott pointed out that district conventions, state convention and the Iowa 3rd special nominating conventions went well. She said he had an exit plan for the former executive director Steve Bierfeldt and had a replacement in mind, but that was sabotaged by one of the members of the State Central Committee who told that person to withdraw his name.
Gustoff said that the State Central Committee needed to set their personal feelings aside and consider the fiduciary duties before them. He said that while he wasn’t sure he would vote for Carroll if he were up for an election, he didn’t have any reason to not have confidence in his job performance. Gustoff, also speaking on behalf of Haugland, expressed concern about the disunity the decision could cause.
After being elected both Kauffmann and Hoefert expressed the desire to unify. “I am a Republican, a conservative Republican,” Kaufmann noted. Hoefert said that the party needed to build a strong staff that represented a cross-section of the party. Both addressed fidelity to the party platform. Hoefert said that he would fight for life, marriage, religious liberty, and fiscal responsibility. They also addressed the challenges before the party in terms of grassroots organizing and fundraising. Hoefert suggested a $300,000 goal in the first three months of their leadership that Kaufmann after the meeting said he supported.
Kaufmann afterwards said that he had a long list of prospective donors that he was going to approach, but no one had indicated they would donate after a leadership transition. Both were asked if a special effort needed to be made to reach out to Danny Carroll supporters. Kaufmann said he didn’t feel special effort was necessary. Hoefert said that trust would be built as they are faithful advancing and upholding the party platform.
The State Central Committee also unanimously affirmed Kaufmann’s appointment of Chad Olsen to be the executive director and assistant treasurer of the state party. District Executive Committees in the 2nd and 4th Districts will have to appoint a committee member to fill the vacancies left by Kaufmann and Hoefert becoming Chair and Co-Chair.
House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) issued the following statement on today’s Chair and Co-Chair elections for the Republican Party of Iowa.
“I appreciate Danny Carroll’s service to the State of Iowa and the Republican Party of Iowa. Newly-elected Chairman Jeff Kaufmann is a man of great integrity who has worked tirelessly for the people of Iowa. I am confident that he is the best, conservative leader to move our state party forward and help us lay the groundwork for victory this fall,” Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) said in a released statement. “Co-Chairman Dr. Cody Hoefert has proven himself to be a strong voice for the grassroots and I look forward to working with him to continue to grow the Republican Party in Iowa.”
Update: I was asked to provide a list of the State Central Committee members who voted in favor of the motion to remove Danny Carroll as Chair. They are: Chelle Adkins, Ron Hering, Loras Schulte, David Chung, Judy Davidson, Trudy Caviness, Jeff Kaufmann, Steve Scheffler, Brenna Findley, Ryan Frederick, Cody Hoefert, Jamie Johnson, Bob Anderson (by phone), and Gary Nystrom.
Monte Goodyk was also able to take footage that I didn’t have space on my iPhone to take.