Iowa GOP chairman defends himself against ouster push

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A.J. Spiker, a close ally of Ron and Rand Paul who became chairman in 2012, has been criticized by many establishment Republicans for pushing his socially conservative, libertarian-leaning ideology on the party and for attempting to move the state party's convention later into the summer.

The Polk County Republican Party, the largest county organization in the state, called for Spiker's resignation on Tuesday night, and other top Republicans including Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) were critical of his now-abandoned effort to move the state's convention date.

Spiked fired back with a letter pointing out the state party is in great shape financially and said those who disagree with his leadership "will have their opportunity to make a change when the next election for chairman comes up."

The letter is the latest flare-up in tension between establishment Republicans and libertarian, Tea Party and religious conservative elements within the party. That fighting threatens to hurt the GOP as it tries to win an open Senate seat and begins to prepare for the 2016 presidential caucuses.