In a split vote, Iowa Republicans have re-elected a Ron Paul supporter as its state party chairman.
A.J. Spiker received 13 votes to remain Iowa GOP state party chairman to five votes for challenger Bill Schickel, the party’s co-chairman, the Des Moines Register reports.
Spiker, of Ames, was the state vice-chairman for Ron Paul's presidential campaign. He resigned when he was selected in early 2012 to replace Matt Strawn, who stepped down as party chairman following an embarrassing caucus night for the Iowa GOP.
The selection process highlights the divide within Iowa's Republican party, which mustered strong support for outsider candidates in the last Iowa Caucus, such as libertarian leaning Ron Paul and Christian conservative Rick Santorum. Santorum won the Iowa Caucus narrowly over eventual nominee Mitt Romney, while Paul came in a respectable third place.
Des Moines Register reporter Jennifer Jacobs tweeted from the GOP meeting, "Santorum backer Jamie Johnson pleads w/ fellow board members to pick a non-Paul co-chair as a sign "this is not the Ron Paul Party of Iowa."
Spiker has had a few controversies already in his time as chairman.
For example, he opposed Iowa's Republican Governor, Terry Branstad, over the Iowa Straw Poll. Branstad said it may be time to discontinue the event while Spiker is defending it.
He also urged Iowa Republican congressmen Steve King and Tom Latham to vote against legislation to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, and he urged voters to oust David Wiggins, a judge who was part of the Iowa Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in Iowa.