The Iowa Republican Party has dumped state party Chairman Danny Carroll and replaced him with former House Speaker Pro-Tem Jeff Kaufmann.
"This is a weird deal. I've never presided over my own termination," Carroll said as he opened the state central committee meeting on Saturday. "This is an awkward moment for all of us."
Carroll was elected chairman in January, but lost support when allies of Gov. Terry Branstad took control from what Politico described as
allies of Kentucky's libertarian Republican Sen. Rand Paul earlier this month.
Carroll supported Branstad's primary opponent in the last gubernatorial election, but received praise Saturday from those who removed him on a 14-2 vote.
Most said they had no bad words for Carroll, but said they thought Kaufmann would provide better leadership heading into the November midterms and the 2016 presidential caucuses.
"Bottom line, I have nothing but good things to say about Danny," said Loras Schulte, who made the motion for the no-confidence vote. "That doesn't necessarily mean that you are in the right place to lead this party at this time."
Carroll is an evangelical Christian who said he had hoped to keep the job through January, according to the Sioux City Journal
. He said he had been attempting to lead in a way that united the party's various factions, including the traditional establishment, evangelical Christians and liberty movement conservatives while still promoting biblical values.
GOP national Committeewoman Tamara Scott, voted against ousting Carroll. She called the vote's timing "unfortunate" as Republicans face an "opportune" election.
"We've heard nothing but praise and yet today we punish him for it," Scott said. She abstained rather than vote for Kaufmann or for Cody Hoefert as new co-chairman because she said the party's bylaws dictate that both offices be filled in the January following a biennial election.
Hoefert was elected after co-chairman Gopal Krishna resigned on Saturday.
Kaufmann and Hoefert said they intend to raise $300,000 in the next three months to get ready for the fall campaign.
"I believe I need to be a voice for our party, our platform and our vision," Kaufmann said after being elected.
"The family fights that we have, Democrats have them, too. Perhaps they're a little less transparent in sharing those with you folks," he told reporters after the meeting. "Family fights are intense and they're passionate, but family fights also mean you circle the wagons in the end."
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