- The Washington Times - Monday, March 10, 2014

The former head of the Iowa Republican Party has taken a job with Sen. Rand Paul’s political action committee — providing more evidence that the Kentucky Republican is laying the foundation for a 2016 presidential bid.

Doug Stafford, the executive director of RAND PAC, announced that A.J. Spiker, who resigned as Iowa GOP chairman last week, was joining their team.

“We are pleased that A.J. will be joining us, his experience in Iowa and across the nation will be vital,” Mr. Stafford said in a news release. “His ability to work with the grassroots is unmatched and we welcome him to the team.”

Mr. Spiker became state party chairman in 2012 after serving as co-chairman of the Iowa presidential campaign of Rep. Ron Paul, his new boss’s father.

“There is no better champion for liberty lovers then Senator Rand Paul,” Mr. Spiker said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the team, together we can make a difference. I am eager to hit the ground running.”

The 2016 race for the Republican nomination will kick off in about 22 months in Iowa, which hosts the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

Mr. Paul is openly considering a presidential run and ran away with The Washington Times/CPAC presidential preference straw poll over the weekend.

Mr. Spiker was re-elected as state party chairman in 2013, but he and his allies in the “liberty movement” often clashed with the establishment wing of the party. On Friday he announced that he was stepping down after forces loyal to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad reasserted their grip on the party by turning out in force at the county party conventions.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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