Yesterday, Bob Vander Plaats announced that long-time GOP operative Eric Woolson had assumed the role of campaign manager for his gubernatorial campaign as of the first of this year. Woolson served as Mike Huckabee’s Iowa campaign manager during the caucuses in 2007/2008 and was an integral part of Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ 2008 second district congressional campaign. Woolson had been serving as Vander Plaats’ communications director for the past year.
In a press release announcing Woolson’s new position, Bob Vander Plaats said, “Eric Woolson has a record of results – and that’s exactly what we expect of him as he assumes responsibility for the day-to-day operations and success of this campaign.”
Woolson, who told the TheIowaRepublican.com that he will continue to service other clients, will manage a staff that includes Wes Enos as Vander Plaats’ political director. Enos also worked for Huckabee in Iowa and for Peter Teahen’s 2008 second district congressional campaign. Former College Republican President Greg Baker is a Vander Plaats field staffer, and Tim Dusenbery is Vander Plaats’ finance director.
Vander Plaats’ main rival, former Governor Terry Branstad, has also filled out his campaign staff. Jeff Boeyink, the former President of Iowans for Tax Relief and former Executive Director of the Republican Party of Iowa was hired to be Branstad’s campaign manager last fall. Tim Albrecht, the former communications director for the American Future Fund, Mitt Romney, and Christopher Rants, is heading up Branstad’s communications efforts.
In addition to Boeyink and Albrecht, Jake Ketzner is the organization director, Lynn McRoberts serves as the finance assistant, and Bonnie Hall is the campaign’s administrative director. The Branstad campaign has also made a significant investment in its grassroots organization. Just this week, the added five field staffer and late last month they hired Bobby Kaufmann as a youth director.
Heading up Branstad’s fundraising effort is Nicole Schlinger. Schlinger is the President of Capitol Resources, a telemarketing/fundraising firm located in Brooklyn, Iowa.
The gubernatorial campaigns are not the only campaign staffing up. The congressional campaigns in the 2nd and 3rd districts have been busy hiring help. In the second district, Dr. Marriannette Miller-Meeks has hired Tracie Gibler to manager her campaign. Gibler worked on Rudy Giuliani’s Iowa caucus campaign during the lead-up to the 2008 caucuses.
In Iowa’s third district, Brad Zaun has hired Tom Clegg as his political director. Clegg is an author and church consultant. Jim Gibbons hired Brian Chatwin, who comes to Gibbons’ campaign from Nevada Senator John Ensign’s staff. Earlier this week, Dave Funk hired Ryan Rhodes to head up his campaign. Rhodes unsuccessfully ran for the Iowa legislature in 2008 and is one of the organizers of the Iowa Tea Party movement.
The addition of new campaign workers means that these campaigns have the funds needed to pay these operatives. Besides radio and television ads, staff salaries are a major expense for campaigns. These staff hires also show how competitive the gubernatorial and second and third congressional races will be in June.
Photo of Ketzner and Branstad by Dave Davidson
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