Ames Republican A.J. Spiker is the new chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.
Spiker is a real estate agent and state GOP central committee member. He’s well known for his strong backing of presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Spiker is Paul’s first automatic delegate, and his ninth overall—although I wouldn’t be surprised if Paul got a few delegates from the caucus states that have held first-round caucuses but haven’t formally allocated their national delegates yet.
UPDATE [21:23 CST]: I’ve seen a couple claims that the following tweet means that Spiker shouldn’t be counted for Paul:
New R chair @AJSpiker says he resigned as co-chair of Ron Paul IA camp, will support whomever R nominee is.
However, that’s really just telling us that (1) Spiker isn’t actively working for the Paul campaign and (2) he’ll support whoever gets nominated, as opposed to a hypothetical third-party Paul bid. It says nothing about who Spiker will support on a hypothetical first ballot in which the nominee is unclear going in, and that’s really the scenario that the delegate count is most interested in. Obviously, if (as has been the case since 1976) there’s a clear Republican nominee when the convention starts, the projected delegate count here will be wildly inaccurate since most delegates will switch to whoever the expected nominee is.