Reaction to Strawn’s decision to step down, some history

Iowa Republican Party chairman Matt Strawn announced this morning that he is stepping down, effective Friday, February 10, 2012.  “It’s a shame,” one Republican legislator involved in a presidential campaign that wasn’t Rick Santorum’s told me about an hour ago. Other legislators expressed similar sentiments and talked of Strawn’s success as a fundraiser for the party. 

Strawn was elected chairman in January of 2009.  Here’s a blog post with the background.

Last week Iowa’s Republican governor said during his weekly statehouse news conference that Strawn had done a “reasonable job” as party chairman, a less than ringing public endorsement.  Speculation now starts as to who Branstad wants to take over, and whether the RPI’s state central committee would even ratify Branstad’s choice. (You may recall that Branstad’s preferred candidate for a state senate race in the Marion area this fall was not the choice of local Republicans.) 

Other candidates for the job of state party chairman last time around were Andy Cable of Eldora (Hardin County GOP chair), Danny Carroll of Grinnell (a former state legislator who is now the statehouse lobbyist for The Family Leader), Matt Randall of Ames (former RPI treasurer), Paul Pate (former Iowa Secretary of State, former Cedar Rapids mayor), Christopher Reed (former candidate for US Senate & US congress), Gopal Krishna (he was the treasurer of the Iowa GOP in 2009) and Des Moines attorney Ted Sporer (Polk County GOP chairman back in 2009). Sporer and Krshna were running as a chair/co-chair ticket in ’09. Here’s a blog post about the January, 2009 public forum featuring all but two of those candidates.

Below are today’s official statements from a variety of notables about Strawn’s exit.

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today released the following statement thanking Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn for his service to the party on behalf of Iowa Republicans:

“I want to thank Matt Strawn for his three years of leadership at the Republican Party of Iowa. Matt took over at a time when the party was in desperate shape, and rebuilt it precinct-by-precinct, putting it in the strongest position in years. Under Matt Strawn’s leadership, we defeated an incumbent governor for the first time since 1962, gained control of the Iowa House with a 60-seat majority, won six seats in the Iowa Senate, restored a strong financial standing and have surged in Republican registration. Matt’s leadership will be missed, but I am confident a smooth transition will take place at the Republican Party of Iowa and we will continue our party’s successes this November.”

DES MOINES – Sue Dvorsky, chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party, released the following statement following the announcement that Matt Strawn would step down from his position with the Republican Party of Iowa:
“It has been a privilege to work with Matt Strawn over the past year and half. While we don’t agree on many issues, we were able to come together and engage Iowans in the political process and lead a debate about the important issues facing our state. I wish Matt all the best in whatever comes next. We hope his successor will continue to work constructively with us on the issues where we have common ground, including the protection of Iowa’s First in the Nation status.”

(DES MOINES) – House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) issued the following statement in regards to Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn’s departure:

“I want to thank Chairman Strawn for his work on behalf of Iowa Republicans.  His dedication to advancing conservative principles is to be commended.

“Iowa Republicans are energized and committed to expanding our House Majority and electing conservatives who work to get the economy moving forward, put Iowans back to work and give taxpayers a seat at the table.”

DES MOINES, IA – Senate Republican Leader Jerry Behn (R-Boone) today thanked Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn for his service and constant dedication to Iowa Republicans.

“I want to thank Matt Strawn for his service and tireless dedication to the cause of promoting our great party, its values, principles and candidates. In his three years of leadership to the Republican Party of Iowa, we experienced an electoral resurgence, a voter registration comeback and a significant increase in our party’s financial resources. I wish Matt all the best and look forward to continuing to work closely with the Republican Party of Iowa in our shared goal of electing a Republican majority in the Iowa Senate.”


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About O.Kay Henderson

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


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