TheIowaRepublican.com has learned that David Young, Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Chief of Staff, has submitted his resignation and plans to officially enter Iowa’s U.S. Senate race sometime in June. Currently no Republican has officially entered the race, but former U.S. District Attorney Matt Whitaker and State Senator Joni Ernst are expected to do so shortly.
Young was in Iowa for a week in late April and reached out to a number of Republican donors and activists. Sources also indicate that he is in the process of purchasing a home in Van Meter, which is in Dallas County. His association and relationship with Grassley could give him an advantage over the competition in a number of areas, most importantly fundraising.
TheIowaRepublican.com has also learned that Young has already secured the key components for a statewide campaign. Sara Taylor Fagen, an Iowa native and former Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs and Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush, will serve as his general consultant. Young’s pollster will be The Tarrance Group, of which Grassley has been a client for years and which has provided services for Congressman Tom Latham, Congressman Steve King, and former Congressman Greg Ganske.
Young’s media strategist also has a Grassley connection. Fred Davis, the creative mind behind the memorable ads that featured Grassley’s old Oldsmobile he drove around to all 99 county meetings and the contraption that allowed Grassley to pull additional push lawn mowers behind his John Deere riding mower, will now be in charge of marketing Young to voters. In Grassley’s 2010 re-election campaign, Davis produced an ad that featured two elderly women talking about Grassley’s Twitter like it was some sort of disease.
Davis may be best known for producing John McCain’s 2008 “celebrity” ad and Christine O’Donnell’s “I’m not a witch” spot, but he most recently served as Congressman Steve King’s ad man in his 2012 race against Christie Vilsack. Of all the media consultants out there, it’s safe to say that Davis is the most unique of them all.
Young’s entrance into the race is a significant development as it could prevent other candidates from stepping forward. None of the other candidates being speculated about have the political connections that Young possesses, which is abundantly clear in the team that he has already quietly assembled.
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