Warring factions within Iowa GOP air grievances

(Radio Iowa) – The chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa says he has no intention of resigning and he’s striking back at critics who’ve raised concerns about lackluster fundraising for the state party and decisions to hold key party events at non-traditional times.

Two county-level parties have passed resolutions calling for the resignation of Iowa GOP chairman A.J. Spiker. Campaign operative Dave Kochel – one of Spiker’s most vocal critics — has been working on Republican campaigns in Iowa for nearly 30 years.

“I’ve never seen the state party in worse shape,” Kochel said this morning.

Spiker shot back.

“I’m not going to take advice from the advisor to Mitt Romney’s campaign,” Spiker said.

Spiker blames his critics for spreading “misinformation” about why he’s been making the decisions he’s made, like moving the 2014 Republican state convention from June into July, then moving it back to June.

“This party needs to move forward and stand for principle and we’re going to win,” Spiker said.

Kochel accuses Spiker of “refusing to listen” to Republican office-holders like Governor Branstad as well as Republican candidates and the “grassroots” — plus Kochel faults Spiker’s fundraising abilities.

“They’ve had months where they raise less than $3000 in an entire month,” Kochel said. “We’ve got state legislative candidates who represent 1/100th of Iowa who do better than that.”

The two men bickered during today’s taping of the “Iowa Press” program that airs tonight on Iowa Public Television. Steve Scheffler, a long-time leader of Christian conservatives in Iowa, appeared on the same program. Scheffler argued factions within the party need to air their differences in private, not in public, but Scheffler also sided with Spiker and criticized Kochel.

“Some of the same people that talk about party unity are the same people who seem to thrive on spending the biggest share of their time trying to divide, by raising the rhetoric, hoping that it’s going to make the press,” Scheffler said.

Scheffler is one of Iowa’s representatives on the Republican National Committee and the leader of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition.