The Republican Party of Iowa’s state central committee meets this morning to elect a party chair for the 2008 election cycle. Two ex-legislators and the party’s current chairman are among those vying for the position. Congressman Steve King, a Republican from western Iowa, says he hadn’t decided who to back.
"Over Christmas and New Years, I’ve just let it sit on the backburner," King says. "I want to step back and see what each of the candidates has to offer, evaluate them, and see whether I need to weigh in and whether it’s appropriate to do so." King says the party needs someone who can run the Iowa Caucuses next January, as well as someone who has the skills to do some restoration work in the party.
King says the party needs to be rebuilt "from the grassroots on up." King also says the party chairman should have the "best face and the best voice" to advance the party’s interests. Chuck Laudner, King’s chief of staff, is rumored to be among the candidates for executive director of the party, but King declines to name any of the candidates to be party chairman.
Current IowaGOPchairman Ray Hoffman, a Sioux City stock broker and restaurant owner, intends to seek reelection. "Ray has endeared himself to Republicans all over the state, myself included. The more we see of Ray, the more we like him," King says. "Whether he is the right face and the right voice for this task ahead — that’s something the central committee will decide." Two legislators who lost races this past year are seeking the party chairmanship.
Ex-Representative Bill Dix of Shell Rock finished second in June’s first district congressional primary. Ex-Representative Danny Carroll of Grinnell lost his reelection in November. Bonnie Hall of Boone, a member of the Iowa GOP’s state central committee, is also running for the job.