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June 21st, 2011

Co-Chair of Iowa GOP Steps Down, Endorses Pawlenty

Following last Monday’s CNN debate, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s campaign has announced a series of high-profile endorsements. Last week the campaign announced that Ames businessman, Roger Underwood, and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Christian Fong had signed on to be co-chairs of the campaign.

This week the Pawlenty campaign announced that Jim Kurtenbach, the Co-Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa has officially endorsed the campaign. Before Kurtenbach’s endorsement was announced he resigned his position with Iowa GOP.

Matt Strawn, the Republican Party of Iowa Chairman, praised Kurtenbach for his service to the party. “Jim is a true public servant and has been a terrific partner in rebuilding the Iowa GOP. He has been part of a revitalized Iowa GOP that has delivered sweeping electoral victories, dramatically increased GOP voter registration, and renewed donor and grassroots confidence,” Strawn said. “Jim has been a trusted counselor, friend and leader. I wish my friend well, and, on behalf of over 600,000 Iowa Republicans, offer my gratitude for a job well done,” he added.

A half hour later, the Pawlenty campaign released the flowing statement announcing Kurtenbach’s support.

Kurtenbach Steps Down from RPI Post to Endorse Pawlenty, Serve as an Iowa Campaign Co-Chair

Former state representative Jim Kurtenbach of Ames has stepped down as co-chair of the Republican Party of Iowa to endorse former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s 2012 presidential bid and become a state campaign co-chair.

“I feel very strongly that Governor Pawlenty is the right leader for our country,” Kurtenbach said today. “I know it’s an unusual step to resign as party co-chairman, but I want to be very actively involved in supporting Tim Pawlenty because the stakes are so very high in the coming election.”

Kurtenbach, who served two terms in the Iowa House of Representatives, was elected RPI co-chair in January 2009 and re-elected earlier this year. An expert in the field of financial accounting with extensive experience in information systems, he is the associate dean for administration at the Iowa State University College of Engineering. In that role, Kurtenbach guides the college’s information technology, distance education, personnel, and financial operations.

Kurtenbach is also an associate professor of accounting at Iowa State. In addition to his experience as a faculty member, Kurtenbach has served as chief financial officer for a materials and chemicals company, managing its transition from an investor-supported organization through sale to an international chemical company. He has also served as the chief executive officer and board member for an animation firm that specializes in scientifically accurate portrayals for courtroom litigation and biotechnology applications, and held officer positions in the construction industry.

“Governor Pawlenty has a conservative record of getting things done at the state level by focusing on what’s important – a trait that President Obama lacks,” Kurtenbach said. “Tim Pawlenty is a solid conservative who has proven that he has a broad appeal to fiscal and social conservatives, Tea Party activists and libertarians, common-sense independents and Reagan Democrats. He can beat President Obama, bring this country back together and get us going in the right direction again.”

The Republican Party of Iowa now must elect a new co-chair at its next meeting.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

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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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