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July 9th, 2013

Campaign Captions: Appel to Challenge Latham; Branstad Announces Staff; Lofgren Enters HD 91 Primary; U.S. Senate Forum in Greenfield

The Monday after a long Independence Day weekend prompted a slew of political activity across the state. Most notably is the decision by liberal Democrat Staci Appel to run against Third District Congressman Tom Latham in 2014.

Appel announced in April that she would not run. However, she quietly filed her paperwork with the FEC last week. The former state senator from Warren County was considered one of the most liberal legislators in Iowa during her single term at the Capitol.

Appel was trounced by Republican Kent Sorenson in the 2010 elections. Despite heavily outspending her opponent, Appel lost by more than 5,000 votes. She is the wife of Iowa Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel.

“Staci Appel’s flip-flop candidacy is a blatant red flag for Iowa voters heading into the 2014 election cycle,” said NRCC spokeswoman Danielle Varallo. “Her obvious insecurities about this race are a clear sign that Steve Israel and the DCCC are struggling to find a strong candidate to run in the 3rd District. Iowa’s hard working families deserve better than indecision and disorganization. We can chalk this up to yet another recruitment fail from the DCCC, and it’s an embarrassment.”

Branstad Announces Campaign Staff, $2 Million in Fundraising

Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds announced their campaign committee has reached $2 million in fundraising. That is an enormous head start than any Democrat challenger will have trouble catching up to.

The Branstad-Reynolds committee also announced the nucleus of their 2014 campaign team. None of the announced staff were surprises. Jake Ketzner will serve as the campaign manager and Jimmy Centers will handle communications. They held the same roles for Congressman Steve King’s 2012 campaign. They also worked on Branstad’s 2010 campaign.

Phil Valenziano will serve as the campaign’s political director. He worked on Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012 and manned the Linn County GOP Victory office in 2010. As was reported by weeks ago, Vonna Hall left her job at the Republican Party of Iowa headquarters to serve as the Branstad campaign’s office manager.

“We are pleased with our committee’s fundraising efforts as Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and I continue laying the groundwork for a potential 2014 campaign,” Branstad said. “The 2012 campaign cycle demonstrated that putting together a capable team early and harnessing evolving technologies yields great rewards. Our team will focus on organizing, recruiting and voter outreach over the coming months ensuring we’re well-positioned moving forward.”

Iowa House member Tyler Olson is expecting to announce his decision to run for the Democrat gubernatorial nomination on Tuesday. He has events scheduled in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Mason City.

Lofgren Officially Announces for HD 91

As expected, Emily Lofgren announced her plans to run for Iowa House District 91 in 2014. That seat is currently held by her father, Mark Lofgren. He is running for the congress in Iowa’s Second District.

Muscatine city councilman and former Muscatine County GOP Chairman Mark LeRette announced his intentions to run for HD 91 last week, so there will be a Republican primary for this seat if both candidates remain in the race through next June.

“I knew I wanted to get into politics eventually,” Emily Lofgren told the Muscatine Journal. “I just didn’t know I’d have the opportunity so soon. My dad said he’d thought about running (for Congress) for a while, and I decided this is the right time (to announce for the race).”

Lofgren, 22, served one term on the Republican State Central Committee. She also clerked for her father at the State Capitol.

Adair County GOP Dinner to Include U.S. Senate Forum

The Republican Party of Adair County plans to conduct the first candidate forum involving Republican U.S. Senate candidates. The event is scheduled for August 25 in Greenfield at their annual Lincoln Dinner. Sam Clovis and David Young have confirmed they will attend the event. Matt Whitaker has not, so far. Other candidates who enter the race prior to the event are also invited.

“We’re excited to host this event and encouraged by the response we’ve gotten from candidates, campaigns and average Republicans eager to begin this race,” said Adair County GOP Chairman Ryan Frederick. “That kind of excitement is what it’s going to take to give Iowa two Republican senators. We look forward to welcoming all the candidates in this race as well as anybody else who might get into the race in the meantime and hope to see them and everyone else on August 25.”

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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