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January 6th, 2010

Campaigns Take Shape as New Year Begins

branstad StaffYesterday, 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 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

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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