Photo credit: Dave Davidson -
Photo credit: Dave Davidson –

Last week after the Republican Party of Iowa State Convention the new State Central Committee met.  The agenda was originally to vote on a secretary and treasurer, but at the end of the meeting I’m told that the Republican Party of Iowa Chair Danny Carroll addressed the elephant in the room so to speak.  In a nutshell he said he was willing to work with the new committee, but that quitting isn’t in his nature so they would have to take action to get rid of them.

SCC member David Chung responded, and Kevin Hall provided a recap at The Iowa Republican:

Carroll knew there were some members of the committee who wanted new state party leadership. Committee members planned to approach the chairman following the meeting and offer him the opportunity to step down gracefully. However, before they could do that, Carroll told the SCC that he had no plans of quitting and if there was going to be a move to ouster him, he preferred they do it quickly.

At that point, longtime SCC member David Chung told Carroll that the SCC was calling a meeting to elect new leadership in two weeks. It takes a simple majority vote of the SCC to remove an officer. There are 18 voting members of the SCC and the chairman and co-chair serve at the pleasure of the committee.

“Danny and Gopal took office at a very difficult time. We had just lost a chairman and they shepherded the party through that time and did an admirable job, but the grassroots spoke at the district conventions and they were calling for new leadership so that’s the direction the State Central Committee is moving,” Chung told

First nobody who has been paying attention to what is going on with the party is surprised by this.  If A.J. Spiker had still been the chair they would have done the same thing.  Secondly, the State Central Committee is well within their rights to elect new leadership for a new committee.

Having a right and being within in the rules to do something doesn’t mean it is the wise and right thing to do.  Besides why would you replace somebody who has done “an admirable job” during a difficult time?

I don’t agree with Chung’s claim to the grassroots speaking.  Unless you are to tell me all of the State Central Committee members seated ran on a “fire Danny Carroll” platform I don’t know how he could say that.  Now if A.J. Spiker was still the chair I could buy that argument since this push was motivated by the Liberty wing takeover, but he resigned the weekend of the county conventions.  Carroll who was elected co-chair after David Fischer resigned was not elected co-chair until March 29th.  So he was chair less than a month before the district conventions were held.

I still feel the same way I felt after the new state central committee has changed.

When the new committee is in place at the fall of the gavel at the state convention I’d also caution against doing anything in a knee-jerk reactionary fashion.  There are some who want Danny Carroll replaced as Chair immediately.  I’m not going to be a Danny Carroll apologist, but I believe he should be given a chance, especially with the midterm elections coming upon us so quickly.

Sorry if can’t help but see a kneejerk reaction here.  I also question the motivation of some of the members.  To me this change seems petty and motivated by revenge.  If you truly want unity this is not the way to achieve it.

However I’ve said before I’m not a Danny Carroll apologist.  I’ve disagreed with him in the past.  I also have had my differences with The FAMiLY Leader.   I don’t think he is a perfect man or chairman by any stretch of the imagination, but no previous chairman has been either.

If I had been Danny I would not have run for permanent chair, but instead functioned as an acting chair.  That said the previous State Central Committee were well within rules to elect somebody to replace Spiker.

I also don’t believe The FAMiLY Leader helped Carroll when they put out an endorsement list for State Central Committee members.  That was a foolish move.  I also don’t believe that loyalty to Danny Carroll should be a qualification to be on the State Central Committee.

The committee should be making decisions that is the best interest of the party moving forward.. winning elections and advancing principles found in the platform.

Regarding Carroll’s tenure I wrote…

Carroll should also do some bridge building with those members who were not endorsed.  Carroll, however, should step up fundraising.  Some struggle may clear up with the new committee, but he also may need to make some staffing changes as well in order to demonstrate good faith.  However that decision should be made on performance, not on what faction of the party the staff belongs to.

RPI Executive Director Steve Bierfeldt saw the handwriting on the wall and resigned.  Some probably thought a change should have been made when Carroll was elected, but with the state convention looming that would have been a nightmare and the previous SCC probably wouldn’t have approved.  The party did need a change in that position as Bierfeldt has been a lightning rod of controversy.  Carroll forming a search committee to hire the new executive director I believe was a good faith attempt at bridge building.  He didn’t need to do that.  Also Carroll has handled the special nominating convention well.  There was a hiccup with the location, but I think the blame lays with Creston High School, not the party.  Carroll has also solicited feedback from the new SCC members on the date and location prior to them being seated so that was also a good faith attempt at bridge building and better  communication.

The state convention went smoothly and was a good event.  There was a problem with the tabloids arriving late for some delegates.  I’m not sure why that happened, but it is inexcusable.  That must be corrected in the future.  Fundraising must improve.  Communication between the party and the governor’s office must definitely improve.

All of this to say I believe Carroll has made some good changes.  He appears to be making some good faith efforts to build bridges with the Branstad administration.  With November just a few short months away it is a mistake to change leadership now.  It will damage party unity, not to mention we need the stability.   If he does poorly, if fundraising tanks, if the party suffer losses, there is misconduct or he publically disagrees with the platform then sure replace him.  If that is the case hopefully Carroll would resign instead.

He has made an effort to work with the new members before they were seated.  They should reciprocate.  Carroll, if by some miracle should be able to retain his position (I’ve been told there are probably only three people who would vote to keep him), needs to continue to earn their trust and rebuild unity.  That would be best done by building an organization, staying low key, and getting out to fundraise – especially those donors who were not engaged by the previous leadership.

I would hope that what appears to be a runaway train will be slowed and reassess.

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