Rand Paul, gearing up for 2016, poaches Iowa’s GOP chairman

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Rand Paul says he will not officially make a decision about whether to run for president until after the midterm elections are over.

But in another sign that the libertarian-leaning Republican has all but decided to run, Paul just made a big hire in Iowa, the first state that will hold a presidential nominating contest.

The libertarian-Republican’s political action committee – RAND PAC – has hired Iowa Republican Party chairman A.J. Spiker to serve as a political adviser.

On Friday, Spiker surprised Republicans by telling the state GOP’s committee that he would be stepping down from his leadership post. Doug Stafford, the PAC’s executive director, announced in a news release Monday that the organization has hired Spiker.

“We are pleased that A. J. will be joining us, his experience in Iowa and across the nation will be vital,” Stafford said in a Monday release. “His ability to work with the grassroots is unmatched and we welcome him to the team.”

In the statement, Spiker said: “There is no better champion for liberty lovers then Senator Rand Paul. I look forward to working with the team, together we can make a difference. I am eager to hit the ground running.”

In a Facebook post on Friday, the Iowa State GOP announced Spiker’s departure. “Spiker served as a member of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee from April 2010 until he was elected State Chairman in February 2012,” the party said.

“Spiker was then re-elected in January 2013. Spiker leaves the Republican Party of Iowa with more than $300,000 cash on hand, zero debt and with a voter registration advantage for Republicans over the Iowa Democratic Party.”

But Spiker, a former Iowa co-chairman for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in 2011, is leaving for Paul’s PAC after clashing with establishment forces in the state GOP.

Spiker will continue to serve as chairman of the Iowa GOP until a new chairman is elected.

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Alex Pappas