Carroll selected as new state GOP chair

BY KRISTEN EAST | MARCH 31, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa GOP’s State Central Committee tapped two social conservatives this past weekend to lead the party forward, and the hope among many is that this transition in leadership will promote unity among Republicans.

The committee met March 29 to select Danny Carroll as the next head of the Republican Party in Iowa. Carroll, who until this past weekend served as co-chairman, was unanimously elected. He replaces former chairman A.J. Spiker, who resigned earlier this month to join a Rand Paul PAC.

With the midterm primary mere months away, Carroll outlined goals for the committee moving forward into the election.

“Political campaigns are hard work. It’s time now for Republicans to get down to business and start knocking on doors, putting up signs, raising money and helping our candidates win in November,” he said in a statement. “I know I speak for all members of the State Central Committee when I say we are ready to unite as Republicans in 2014.”

Carroll previously served as a Poweshiek County supervisor for 10 years, and he was a representative in the Iowa House from 1994-2006.

Gopal T.K. Krishna, elected co-chairman in place of Carroll, isn’t a stranger to leadership, either. The West Des Moines businessman will now serve as the party co-head for a record fourth time.

In a statement, Krishna, too, touched on the theme of uniting the Republican Party by outlining his own goals as co-chairman. Among them, he wants to increase voter registration and participation, work with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, and reach out to minorities and new constituents.

“I have been, and am a Republican for all Republicans,” he said. “As long as I am co-chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, outreach to all minority communities will be a priority.”

One local member of the state committee said he believes the transition for Carroll will be an easy one, having already served in the leadership.

“There’s a transition for which the co-chairman would become the chairman,” said Bob Anderson, who previously served as head of the Johnson County Republicans. “That became formalized by a vote [Saturday], and the expectation of that is for whoever occupies that office to go forward doing the work of a united Republican Party.”

He said Carroll and Krishna will lead the party behind the agenda of Gov. Terry Branstad and the Republican members of the Legislature, as well as Iowa’s congressional delegation, in what he says will be “a unified campaign.”

Though stepping into the role so close to an important midterm primary, one expert says Carroll’s previous experience will help him move into the position with ease.

“Having the co-chair step in is a pretty good choice,” said Tim Hagle, an associate professor of political science at the University of Iowa. “The idea [is that] presumably the co-chair has pretty good experience with the way the office and organization works, so he’ll be able to continue the operation and not lose his step.”

As party officials have emphasized unity as a priority moving forward, Hagle said he believes there have been tensions in the party over cooperation between social conservatives and the Family Leader organization, as well as those who are Ron Paul supporters.

“That’s kind of the bigger concerns with the Republican Party … will they be able to get past some of these tensions and [to] be able to become an effective organization for the party and get out votes for the party for this election cycle.

“The first big test will be primaries to see how that shakes out for the Republican Party.”

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