Iowa GOP chair steps down

CNN Wire Service

(CNN) — The Iowa Republican chairman, Matt Strawn, announced on Tuesday that he will step down in February.

The announcement, made in a video posted to the state GOP website, comes four weeks after Iowa’s lead off caucuses, which ended after a nearly three week certification process in a 34 vote victory for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

“For this fifth generation Iowan and Benton County farm kid, serving as your Chairman has been an honor, a privilege and the opportunity of a lifetime,” Strawn said in a statement.

The state party, which oversaw the caucus process, certified results in all but eight of the 1,774 precincts, which did not submit proper vote total paperwork to the party. Strawn told CNN that he was satisfied to certify the result.

“I am proud that an overwhelming [number] of the counties – in fact 99.96% of the counties – complied with the 14-day deadline to get their materials in,” Strawn said.

The state’s caucuses were originally slated for February, but were moved to January after Florida announced their primary would be held on Jan 31, launching a period of speculation that Iowa or New Hampshire, traditionally the first two states to vote, could even poll in December of 2011.

The Iowa result led Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann to pull out of the race, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry to briefly reconsider his bid, which he eventually dropped days before the South Carolina contest.