DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz publicly rejected the reasoning used to delay the 2014 Iowa GOP Convention on Friday, saying it was based on a false interpretation of state law.
With support from Iowa Republican Party Chairman A.J. Spiker, the party's State Central Committee last month voted to move the convention from June 14 to July 12. Spiker has argued the GOP needs that time in order for the June 3 primary results to be properly certified.
The decision has drawn widespread criticism from top Republicans in the state, including Gov. Terry Branstad. But Spiker sent committee members a letter Thursday that said he would not seek a vote to reconsider the decision.
In a statement released Friday, Schultz, also a Republican, said the party can hold a convention before official certification, or canvass, is complete.
“To state that it is necessary to hold a special nominating convention after the conclusion of the state canvass is not only misleading, it is false,” Schultz wrote.
In response to Schultz's statement, Spiker wrote in an email he'd call for a meeting of the State Central Committee later this month. He did not immediately respond to questions about whether there would be a vote at the meeting to change the convention date.
Critics have said delaying the meeting could hurt the GOP's candidate for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin's seat. If no one gets 35 percent of the vote in the primary election, the nominee will be selected at a GOP convention.
If it comes to that and the convention remains on July 12, the nominee could lose weeks of campaign time, possibly benefiting Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, who is running unopposed.
Several members of the State Central Committee were already seeking to hold a vote to reconsider. Committee member Jamie Johnson of Stratford said he had gathered enough signatures to force a meeting.
“My primary reason for moving it back is to give the eventual Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate as much time for fundraising,” said Johnson, who was not at the original vote.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.