An ambitious young legislator has been labeled the “heir apparent” to succeed the out-going chairman of the Iowa Republican Party. Thirty-two-year-old representative Chuck Larson, Junior, of Cedar Rapids is the only one running for the top party job. Larson says it’s a tremendous opportunity to “rebuild” the Republican Party of Iowa.Larson will preside over the party as it prepares for 2002 when democrats Tom Vilsack, the Governor, and U-S Senator Tom harkin will be up for re-election. He says winning those seats will be top priorities as well as retaining control in the legislature.Republican leaders decided to bankroll half of the money they earned from the Iowa Straw Poll held in August, ’99. That’s the party fundraiser where nine G-O-P presidential candidates competed for straw poll votes, which cost $25 to cast. As a result, the Iowa G-O-P has almost 600-thousand dollars in the bank today.Democrats are searching for a new party chairman. Despite a “status quo” election in 2000 for Iowa democrats, Governor Vilsack and others have been urging chair Rob Tully to stay. He won’t. Tully says he’s had a wonderful time, but believes it’s time to bring in some new blood.Sheila McGuire Riggs, a candidate for Iowa’s 5th district congressional seat in 1996, is the only one mentioned as a possible democrat party chair. A few party leaders parlayed the high-profile job into elective office. Former Iowa Governor Robert Ray was Iowa G-O-P chairman the year before he ran successfully for Governor. And Steve Grubbs of Davenport went from being chairman of the Iowa G-O-P to being a political consultant.
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