Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who formed a 2012 presidential exploratory committee on March 21, today announced the members of an Iowa staff that will be led by two-term state Rep. Erik Helland of Johnston.
Annie Kelly, who was recently the director of operations for Pawlenty’s Freedom First Political Action Committee, has been named state deputy director. Tracie Gibler, an Ottumwa native who managed Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ 2010 congressional campaign will serve as Pawlenty’s state political director.
“We’ve assembled an Iowa team with an exceptional balance of depth and experience combined with energy and passion,” Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant said. “This team knows Iowa and knows how to build successful coalitions. With their help, we will unite Republicans behind Governor Pawlenty’s conservative record of success.”
Helland is the Iowa House majority whip and serves on the Ways and Means, State Government and Local Government committees. His political experience includes working as Midwest political director for former New York Gov. George Pataki’s 21st Century Political Action Committee and as an Iowa field staffer for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. Helland earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from Drake University.
Kelly, a Philadelphia native, was deputy director of Pawlenty’s 2006 re-election campaign. A senior associate with the Washington-based firm BlueFront Strategies, she is a veteran of the McCain presidential campaign and a former employee of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She also interned in the White House Office of Senior Advisor Karl Rove.
Gibler, who earned her law degree at Drake University, was a field director in Iowa and Florida for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign. Her work in Washington, D.C., includes a stint as director for development with Americans for Limited Government.
Field representatives include:
Daniel Catlin has political experience in several states. He was a field director for the Alabama Republican Party, campaign manager for an Alabama state Senate candidate and field director for Americans for Limited Government in two Virginia congressional districts.
Andrew Wagner of Minneapolis has worked as an intern for the Minnesota Republican Party and a state senator. He was the campaign manager for a Minnesota House candidate and was active in the Minnesota College Republicans.
Andy Swanson of Dayton, Iowa, served as deputy campaign manager for Rep. Tom Latham’s 2010 re-election campaign. He also was a field representative on the McCain presidential campaign and regional coalitions director in Ohio and Pennsylvania for the McCain-Palin organization.
Anthony Zammit, an Eau Claire, Wis., political consultant and a former chairman of the Minnesota College Republicans, was deputy political director for U.S. Sen. Norman Coleman’s 2008 re-election campaign. He was also Statewide Catholic Coordinator for the Minnesota Victory ’04 campaign.
Dane Nealson of Ames is a former chairman of the Iowa Federation of College Republicans. He was the Iowa Victory field director for the Republican Party of Iowa last year. A former legislative clerk, he also was field director for the 2008 Miller-Meeks congressional campaign and an Iowa field representative for Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign.
John Wesley Vinson was the deputy manager of the 2010 Zaun for Congress campaign. He has also served as a field director for an Oregon gubernatorial candidate, manager of a Virginia delegate candidate’s campaign and field director for an Alabama congressional candidate.
Kevin Kuhle, a Drake University graduate and former student body president, is a legislative clerk in the Iowa House. He was a field director for the 2010 Republican Party of Iowa House Majority Fund staff and managed a 2008 Wisconsin Assembly campaign.
Mike Thom of West Des Moines is a legislative clerk in the Iowa House and was a campaign aide to David Jamison, the 2010 GOP candidate for state treasurer. An Iowa State University graduate working on his master of public administration degree at Drake University, he worked as a USDA biological science aide from 2003 to 2010.
Rob Anderson, a political science major at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was an intern for Governor Branstad’s 2010 campaign.
Travis Holler, a 2011 graduate of the George Washington University, was an intern in the Office of Presidential Correspondence at the White House in 2007 and 2008. He also was an intern on the Bob McConnell for Governor campaign in Virginia in 2009.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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