Iowa GOP chair leaves for Rand Paul's PAC

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has brought on Iowa Republican Party Chairman A.J. Spiker (R) as an adviser to his political action committee — the latest signal Paul is seriously weighing a presidential bid.

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Spiker announced this weekend he was stepping down as head of the state party after years of clashes between his side and establishment Republicans close to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R).

Spiker and other Ron Paul backers took over the Iowa GOP in 2012 in a push to send pro-Paul delegates to the Republican National Convention. They have fought with Branstad's allies ever since, who gripe they haven't raised enough for the state party. Pro-establishment delegates recently won a number of local caucuses, giving them a bigger voice in the party and threatening Spiker's tenure.

Spiker has long said he wouldn't seek a second term in 2016, comments most viewed as a sign he'd rejoin Paul when the senator makes his presidential campaign official.

On Monday, he announced he will now work as an adviser to RAND PAC, Paul's political action committee. 

"We are pleased that A.J. will be joining us, his experience in Iowa and across the nation will be vital," RAND PAC Executive Director Doug Stafford said in a statement. "His ability to work with the grassroots is unmatched and we welcome him to the team."

The hire is another sign Paul is seriously weighing a 2016 run for president. Paul has been making moves towards a run, recently winning the Conservative Political Action Conference's annual straw poll for the second year running. He also wrote a Monday op-ed pushing back against Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) attempts to seize President Reagan's mantle on foreign policy, arguing Reagan was less of an interventionist than Cruz claims.

If Paul runs for president, Spiker would likely play a role in organizing for Iowa's caucuses.

--This post was updated at 4:21 p.m.