Last week, Congressman Steve King’s campaign announced that Jeff King, the congressman’s son and long-time campaign manager, was taking on a new role as the chairman of the re-election campaign. The new role will allow Jeff King to focus on strategic vision and campaign fundraising. Later today it will be announced that Jake Ketzner, the former organizational director of Governor Terry Branstad’s 2010 campaign, will be King’s campaign manager. Ketzner has worked in the Governor’s office since January of 2011.
The addition of Ketzner to the King campaign is a significant one. Ever since being elected in 2002, King’s political operation has been run by a close knit-group of advisors who have basically become part of the King family. King’s team is immensely loyal and constantly has its finger on the pulse of conservative politics in the state.
Ketzner provides the King campaign a professional operator who’s singular focus is on the reelection campaign. He also brings ample experience in working on large campaigns. Before being one of Branstad’s first hires, Ketzner worked for the McCain campaign in Missouri. That experience should help the King campaign seamlessly integrate in to the Republican Party of Iowa’s victory program, a necessity in the newly drawn district against a well-financed opponent in Christie Vilsack.
To say that Congressman King has had it easy in his previous campaigns would be an understatement. His average margin of victory in his five congressional campaigns is 56,364 votes. In his 2010 re-election campaign, Congressman King’s margin of victory was greater than the total number of votes that his opponent received.
King’s previous success can be attributed to his solidly Republican district, but he is also a relentless campaigner who leaves no stone unturned in an election year. While some may not agree with his conservative views, King has earned a lot of respect from voters because one never has to wonder where he stands on a particular issues.
The newly reconfigured 4th Congressional District that King is seeking re-election in is once again the most Republican district in the state. The difficulty that King faces this fall is not that Christie Vilsack will probably raise more money for her campaign than all of King’s previous five opponents combined, but that he faces a well-financed opponent in a redistricting year.
For Vilsack to have any chance at knocking off Congressman King, she will have to win in the new parts of the district that King has not represented before. Counties like Story, Webster, and Cerro Gordo will provide Vilsack an opportunity to gain a foothold in the district, but they are also counties that Congressman Tom Latham carried in 2008 even though President Obama easily won each.
King might find it a little more difficult to win those counties in a presidential year than Latham did in 2008, but while he has not represented the new areas of the district before, he is well known in that part of the state. Integrating someone like Ketzner into his campaign should help the King campaign organize these areas.
In the press release announcing Ketzner’s hiring, Congressman King said, “Jake’s organizational knowledge of the state, especially of the 39 counties of Iowa’s new 4th District, will help expand our organization in every precinct of the district.”
With the presidential caucuses well behind Iowans, the focus is now beginning to shift to congressional races this fall. This week, King will continue his efforts in reaching out to voters throughout the new district. King will hold 23 town hall meetings across the district this week beginning today with stops in Carroll, Harlan, Sioux City, and Le Mars. Having his new campaign manager on board provides an excellent opportunity to engage King’s network as they travel around the district.
The move to bring Ketzner on board indicates how seriously King is taking his 2012 re-election campaign. Hiring a campaign manager from outside of King’s circle is not the only move indicates how much he is focusing on his fall campaign. King has also challenged his opponent to a series of debates, something he has not done since his 2002 campaign.
The 4th Congressional District campaign between King and Vilsack is sure to feature a lot of fireworks, but the makeup of the district and King’s aggressiveness on the campaign trail will be difficult for Vilsack to match. Bringing on Ketzner shows that he also focused on building a top-notch campaign organization in each county in the 4th District.
King Names Ketzner Campaign Manager
(EARLY, IA) – Iowa Congressman Steve King (R-Kiron) today announced he has hired Jake Ketzner to manage his re-election campaign for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. Ketzner joins the team which includes Jeff King who was recently announced as campaign chairman.
“I am pleased to bring in Jake Ketzner to our growing campaign team,” said Steve King. “Jake’s organizational knowledge of the state, especially of the 39 counties of Iowa’s new 4th District, will help expand our organization in every precinct of the district.”
Ketzner, from Clive, was a field director for John McCain and Sarah Palin’s successful 2008 presidential campaign in Missouri. Ketzner then served as Governor Branstad’s organization director in his 2010 primary campaign victory, and continued this role in Branstad/Reynolds’ successful General Election campaign. Ketzner joined the Branstad/Reynolds Inaugural Committee to help coordinate Inaugural Day planning and operations.
Ketzner became part of the Branstad/Reynolds administration as policy advisor in January of last year, from which he will take a leave of absence.
“Congressman King is a passionate advocate for Iowa’s 4th District and its citizens’ values,” said Ketzner. “In Congress, he will continue his efforts to bring jobs to Iowa’s 4th district, to reduce the massive debt being passed on future generations, to minimize burdensome government regulations on Iowa families, and further develop Iowa’s successful agricultural economy. Our campaign will focus on the substance of his ideas, and we will offer concrete solutions for the challenges facing our country.”
Congressman Steve King is running for re-election in Iowa’s new 4th Congressional District. He has served in Congress since 2002 and is a member of the U.S. House Agriculture, Judiciary, and Small Business Committees. He was born in and is a lifelong resident of the new 4th District, founded King Construction, raised a family, and served in the Iowa Senate for six years. More information on Congressman King and his campaign can be found at www.steveking.com.
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