Kiernan resigning as head of the Iowa Democratic Party

The Des Moines Register reported this morning that Michael Kiernan is stepping down as chair of the Iowa Democratic Party.

Kiernan is leaving because of personal reasons, [IDP Executive Director Norm] Sterzenbach said. He declined to go into details but noted that Democrats will hold a press conference at 2 p.m.

The Democratic State Central Committee will hold a special meeting Thursday night to vote on a new chairman.

I’ll update this post after Kiernan’s press conference today. UPDATE: Kiernan said he is resigning “because of personal health reasons. I am resigning so that I can focus on my family and my health. Believe me when I say that I would be here fighting to elect more Democrats every day if I could.” I posted the complete statement released by the Iowa Democratic Party after the jump. I’m sure all Bleeding Heartland readers join me in wishing Kiernan a speedy recovery.

Kiernan was selected to chair the Iowa Democratic Party in January 2009. Under his leadership the party has been out-raising the Republican Party of Iowa. He also helped recruit Roxanne Conlin to run against Senator Chuck Grassley. Speaking to her supporters after winning yesterday’s primary election,

Conlin told a story about January 2009.

“I was sitting there innocently with nothing on my mind but the concerns of my clients when an old dear friend insisted on an appointment,” Conlin said.

The old friend, Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan, told her that he wanted to talk to her about something.

“The something that he wanted to talk to me about was my running against Grassley. I thought he’d lost his mind. I said, ‘You must be kidding me!”

As the crowd laughed, Conlin said: “So it turned out it was a good idea after all.”

That was months before Bob Krause or Tom Fiegen had announced plans to run against Grassley. It showed a lot of foresight for Kiernan to be seeking out a high-profile challenger for that race.  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 9, 2010

CHAIRMAN MICHAEL KIERNAN TO RESIGN AS IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR

DES MOINES, IA – Today Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan announced he will resign as Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party effective tomorrow night.

“I am announcing my resignation because of personal health reasons. I am resigning so that I can focus on my family and my health. Believe me when I say that I would be here fighting to elect more Democrats every day if I could.

“I am proud of the work I have been able to do as chairman and we’ve had a lot of successes.  Our 2010 election strategy is set and I am confident that the Party is in a strong position to implement that plan”

Under Michael Kiernan’s chairmanship, the Iowa Democratic Party has maintained our 100,000 voter registration advantage over the Republican Party of Iowa.

Since 2008, Iowa Democrats have won all three special elections in Iowa. House District 30 was even called a ‘bellwether’ for this election cycle by top Republicans and it will be a ‘bellwether’ that shows Iowa Democrats will win again in November.  

The Iowa Democratic Party has successfully outraised the Republican Party of Iowa for the past year and a half. In 2009, Iowa Democrats raised $1 million more than Iowa Republicans, which will go towards our coordinated campaign efforts to make sure we send Roxanne Conlin to represent us in the Senate and that Governor Chet Culver is re-elected.

Kiernan also serves on the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws committee where he works to ensure Iowa’s caucuses will remain First-in-the-Nation.

Until a new chair is formally elected, Vice-Chair Sue Dvorsky will act as chair.

BACKGROUND

Kiernan, 35, was elected Chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party in February of 2009. Chairman Kiernan ran Governor Chet Culver’s campaign for Secretary of State before serving two successful terms as an At-Large Councilman in Des Moines. He was born and raised in Madison County, Iowa.

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