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UI College Republicans mull new state GOP head

BY KRISTEN EAST | FEBRUARY 09, 2012 7:20 AM

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University of Iowa College Republicans said they want the new Iowa GOP leader to be just as involved with young voters as outgoing head Matt Strawn.

Strawn, who has served in the position since January 2009, recently announced he'll resign his position, citing personal and professional reasons. Strawn was widely criticized earlier this year after a mix-up with caucus votes.

"Strawn, to me, was perfect. He was very active in issues, came to many events of ours, and those across the state," said Natalie Ginty, the head of the Iowa Federation of College Republicans. "So, it does make a difference in who is elected."

Ginty said she and members of the UI College Republicans have discussed the GOP-leader election, but they won't take action because they would have no influence on how the State Central Committee votes.

UI political-science Associate Professor Tim Hagle, the College Republicans' faculty adviser, said the group isn't too involved at the state level.

"What happens at the state party level isn't always a direct connection to what's happening at any chapter level," he said. "Chapters are usually busy enough with membership recruitment and individual activities on campuses."

One candidate for the GOP spot is reaching out to young voters.

Dave Funk, a co-head of the Polk County Republican Party, told The Daily Iowan he is seeking the GOP state position.

Funk has notified young voters of his candidacy, posting a petition to the UI College Republicans' Facebook page, asking the group for its support.

"In these trying times, let's elect a leader who can unify the GOP and lead us to victory this November," he wrote Tuesday. "Let's build on the solid foundation currently in place and ensure that we return Iowa to greatness again."

Funk said his first priority — if elected — would be keeping Iowa's caucuses the first in the nation.

But he said reaching out to younger voters is also important.

"It's a smaller number than the rest of the voting population, but it's an important one because there's a lot of energy coming out of the younger population," he said.

Funk said he would hire a field representative to visit campuses in order to create connections and mentor college Republican groups.

Bill Schickel, the current co-head of the party, will become the interim leader starting Friday, when Strawn's resignation becomes effective.

Schickel is also the owner of a Christian radio station.

Ginty said she favors Schickel and will be surprised if he isn't elected.

"With Schickel, they will probably keep the same staff," she said.

He has not officially announced his candidacy, and he was unable to be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

There are three committee members in each of the State Central Committee's five Congressional districts. Those 15 members, in addition to the committeewoman and committeeman, vote for the GOP leader, Ginty said. The committee hasn't set an election date.

Hagle said Strawn's resignation has been "a black eye" for Iowa, and the timing wasn't the best because of the upcoming presidential election.

"… We're still only in February," he said. "There's still time for someone to come in and get the state up to speed. That's at least what we'd hope for."


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