New Iowa GOP chair: Matt Strawn

UPDATED:  The 17-member state central committee of the Republican Party of Iowa met in Des Moines this morning and elected 35-year-old Matt Strawn as the party's new chairman.  Strawn grew up on a farm near Van Horne, Iowa, and graduated from Benton Community High School in 1992.  He went to the University of Iowa and graduated in 1996 with a double major in journalism and political science.  From 1997 to 2000 he worked in the office of then-Congressman Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican.

Strawn then went to work for Congressman Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, and enrolled in law school.  The resume handed out to reporters today indicates he graduated "first in class and summa cum laude" in 2003 from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.  From 2001-2002 he was legislative director for Congressman Rogers and from 2003-2006 he was chief of staff & counsel for Rogers.

Strawn was the Iowa State director for McCain 2008 from January through July of 2007.  He lives in Ankeny, a Des Moines suburb, and runs a PR firm — plus he's a co-owner of the Iowa Barnstormers.  Another item on the resume: he listed his religion (it's Lutheran).

Here's an interesting note about another young Republican lawyer:  Robert D. Ray was 35 years old when he was elected chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa in 1963.  He was party chair from '63-'67.  Ray ran for governor in 1968 and won — serving 14 consecutive years in office.

Click here to access a 9-minute-long mp3 of today's news conference featuring Strawn.

In other state central committee news, the news release handed out early this afternoon by the Republican Party of Iowa indicates there were only two other candidates for the chairmanship when the voting was held today (former State Representative Danny Carroll & Hardin County GOP Chairman Andy Cable).  That means three of the six who turned out for last Saturday's public forum withdrew their names and other potential candidates who'd been rumored to be running didn't have their names on the first, only and final ballot for the chairmanship. 

The central committee elected a co-chair today, too.  Four names were on the ballot:  Leon Mosley (he'd held the job for a long time); Christopher Reed (the Marion businessman who ran against Tom Harkin this past November); Paul Pate (former state senator/former Iowa Secretary of State/former Cedar Rapids mayor) and former State Rep. Jim Kurtenbach of Nevada.  Kurtenbach won.

Matt Randall, one of the candidates for party chairman at last Saturday's forum, was elected to be the party's treasurer and Bill Schickel of Mason City (a former Mason City mayor & former state representative) was elected secretary.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. janice rodrigue says

    This message is regarding Matt Strawn’s co-owned team, the Iowa Barnstormers.
    I am an Aunt of one of the special needs children that participated the evening when the Barnstormers were volunteering their time. This was at a newly built local youth softball/baseball special needs facility in Des Moines.
    The impression that the team made on these young “athletes” and their parents and family members will be most memorable. One player in particular, Eric Anderson was such a “gentle giant” and terrific “teammate”. One of my relatives commented that he would make a great dad. The player that he helped was Ashlynn Chiles who could not stop talking about him, and did not sleep that night for a very long time because of her excitement. Her brother, Colton is usually her partner and always looks forward to helping her but was so happy for her when she got her “temporary partner” for that evening.
    My thanks to your organization and especially your athletes for their willingness to give back to the community. Not only did they appear to enjoy themselves but are also apparently within their season and still take time to be a part of peoples lives within their city. (A very rare thing to see nowadays.)
    In our world of “sports divas”, and national headlines of those that continue to choose the wrong path in character, responsibility and deed, it is a testament to the owners, front office, and the players of the Iowa Barnstormers that give us assurance that there are still people that choose to show us that sports and all whom are affiliated within the industry can make a positive difference.
    Janice Rodrigue
    Chandler, Arizona