CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County Republicans joined a growing chorus of county parties calling for the resignation of the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.
On a voice vote, members of the Linn County GOP Central Committee voted overwhelmingly Tuesday night to call for Chairman A.J. Spiker to resign immediately. There was a murmur of “no” votes from the 50-plus people in attendance.
Fred Johnson of Cedar Rapids offered the motion at the end of the county party’s regular monthly meeting. Spiker’s decision to delay the 2014 state convention — and possibly the nomination of a U.S. Senate candidate — topped his list of reasons for removing the chairman.
“There’s a lot more,” he added later. Spiker has made a series of decision that are “just stupid.”
Steve West of Hiawatha seconded that.
“If anyone watched (Iowa Press), you would say let’s get rid of this idiot,” he said in support of the motion.
Chairwoman Cindy Golding made clear the motion reflected the sentiment of the grassroots and not the leadership of the county party.
“It will be presented to the State Central Committee, but we have no authority to remove Chairman Spiker,” she said.
Spiker did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.
Spiker’s detractors have a lengthy list of grievances. The decision to postpone the state convention, which has been overturned by the State Central Committee, tops the list. With at least five candidates seeking the GOP Senate nomination, it is likely no one will get the necessary 35 percent of the vote in the June 2014 primary.
Delaying the convention would give the Democratic nominee an advantage, many Republicans argued. They also suggested the delay would aid Spiker and his co-chairman, David Fischer, should one of them seek the Senate nomination.
Richard Bice of Marion called for tabling action rather than change leaders in a busy political season.
“By ourselves, we won’t eliminate anyone from state office,” Bice said, and urged the group to table action “because we will alienate ourselves” from the state party.
Eric Rosenthal of Cedar Rapids agreed the resolution would be counterproductive.
“I’m not saying I disagree,” he said, “but not now. The time to do it is when others are standing for election.”
Matt O’Neal, who spoke in favor of Spiker’s removal, said that based on his conversations with Republicans around the state, more counties will follow suit.
Linn is the fourth county to adopt such a resolution. The central committees in Polk, the state’s largest, Grundy and Appanoose counties also called for Spiker to resign.
Although the charges against Spiker can’t be proved, Jim Conklin of Marion told his fellow Republicans his fear is it “will be more decisive if we don’t get rid of the cancer.”