Former United States Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich continues to inch closer to becoming a full-blown presidential candidate. TheIowaRepublican.com has learned that Iowa House Majority Leader, Rep. Linda Upmeyer, has agreed to chair Newt Explore 2012 in Iowa.
As you may recall, Upmeyer pledged her support to Gingrich in January at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Des Moines when she said, “I for one think this is just the right guy to be the president of the United States and I think there’s a whole bunch of people in this room who believe that” at the conclusion of his remarks.
Upmeyer, who is the state’s first female House Majority Leader, gives Gingrich a high profile endorsement that he can tout around the state. A long time fan of Gingrich, Upmeyer used her relationship with him to help raise money for the Republican House Majority Fund during the last election cycle. According to OpenSecrets.org, Gingrich’s American Solutions PAC made $100,000 in contributions to the House Majority Fund between September 3, 2010, and October 28, 2010.
Gingrich is also adding two political veterans to his Iowa team. Craig Schoenfeld and Will Rogers will be his Iowa points of contact. Schoenfeld is a long-time veteran of local and statewide Iowa political campaigns. In 2004, he ran the Iowa Victory effort for President Bush, in addition to working on President Bush’s successful caucus effort in 2000. Schoenfeld is a practicing attorney, and registered lobbyist with the Des Moines based firm of Wasker, Dorr, Wimmer & Marcouiller.
Will Rogers is a Des Moines native, Army veteran, and Drake University alumnus. For the past 15 years, Rogers has been involved in helping elect Republicans in Iowa beginning with Congressman Greg Ganske’s first campaign. He subsequently served as the Executive Director for the Polk County GOP, worked for Congressman Tom Latham’s campaign in 2004, and served as the Co-Chair of the Polk County GOP during the last election. Rogers, another registered lobbyists, currently serves as the Director of Government Affairs for the Iowa Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association.
Schoenfeld provides Gingrich with an understanding of how Iowa caucus campaigns operate. Rogers brings a wealth of activists’ contacts with him to the campaign. His extensive work in Polk and Story Counties could pay huge dividends at the Iowa Straw Poll this summer. The two have also worked on the same campaign before. In 2004, they both worked for Ganske’s U.S. Senate campaign against U.S. Senator Tom Harkin.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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