Yet another new campaign manager for Culver

Governor Chet Culver’s campaign has yet another new manager coming in on May 1. Donn Stanley will take a leave of absence from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office to run the governor’s re-election effort, as Abby Curran leaves for Washington. I posted the Culver campaign’s press release after the jump.

The turnover within the governor’s campaign during the past year is not an encouraging sign. Last year, John Kirincich joined Culver’s staff and was “expected to play a key role” in the campaign, but Kirincich “quietly left the governor’s office” after only a few months. Andrew Roos came in to run the campaign in September but resigned at the end of November. Curran became the new manager in January. Soon after that, deputy campaign manager Jesse Harris and finance director Grace Van Cleave left the campaign. Teresa Vilmain has been a senior consultant to the Culver campaign since last summer, but it’s not clear whether she will stay on beyond next month.

Let’s hope the current reshuffle is the last. Share any relevant thoughts in the comments.

P.S.- It turns out I am unable to complete this post without a reference to Spinal Tap drummers.

UPDATE: I learned something new in Tuesday’s Des Moines Register:

Stanley said staff turnover is common and pointed to the 1998 campaign of Culver’s predecessor, Tom Vilsack, who went through three managers before tapping John Cacciatore three months before his come-from-behind election.

Press release of April 12, 2010:


DES MOINES – A new campaign manager for the Culver/Judge campaign will be taking over May 1, 2010. Donn Stanley, a veteran Iowa strategist, will take over the reins, as Abby Curran leaves for the Washington, DC area where she will pursue new opportunities and be closer to her family.

Governor Culver wishes Abby well in her new endeavors. “She’s been a great leader for us. Her professionalism, dedication and work ethic has been deeply appreciated. At the same time, I am delighted that Donn is taking a leave of absence from his work at the Iowa Attorney General’s office to take over the campaign. Iowa Democrats have known Donn for more than 25 years as one of the brightest strategists in our party,” said Culver.

Curran leaves confident that Iowans will re-elect the Culver/Judge ticket to another term in office. “I trust that as Iowans continue to learn more about the Culver/Judge record of creating jobs and making investments in our economy through I-JOBS, expanding access to children’s healthcare, extending preschool education to more kids, providing our Veterans with the services they need, and balancing budgets without raising taxes, these voters will feel that the Culver/Judge administration is the best choice for the next four years,” Curran said.

“As a life-long Iowan, it is an honor for me to join the Culver/Judge team,” Stanley said. “I look forward to running a strong grassroots campaign that will focus on the real issues that matter in this election. I have known both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor for many years, the leadership and commitment they have shown during these past three and a half years has enabled our state to overcome the challenges brought on by the international financial collapse and some unprecedented weather-related calamities. Their actions have this state poised for an even greater future.”



Donn Stanley was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. He is a graduate of Des Moines Lincoln High School. He attended the University of Iowa where he served as Student Senate President and was a champion debater. Donn has a B.A. in English from Simpson College. He is an honors graduate of Drake Law School where he was a member of the law review and captain of the National Moot Court Team. Donn won numerous moot court and oral advocacy awards throughout law school and the law faculty awarded him the Iowa State Bar Association Award as the outstanding graduating student.

After graduating from law school, Donn has practiced law in the office of the Iowa Attorney General. He began his legal career by defending the state against criminal appeals and enforcing Iowa’s tobacco laws. The past four years he has headed up the revenue division and the office’s tobacco enforcement efforts. In 2006, Donn was presented the Laurie Loveland Award by the National Association of Attorneys General for his work on tobacco issues.

Donn has worked and volunteered in various capacities for Democratic candidates in numerous Iowa campaigns since first serving as a field staff person and debate coach for Tom Harkin in Harkin’s first senate campaign in 1984. Donn and his wife Debra Moore live in Urbandale with their dog, Sage.

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  • eeek

    this constant staff turnover is not going to help the storyline of the campaign.  i don’t see how its possible to maintain a fundraising or general campaign strategy with all these changes at the top.  when are the next fundraising reports due?  i’m interested to see how things are running in that department.  

  • Spinal Tap?

    Can it be? By referencing Spinal Tap have you finally arrived at the correct conclusion that government is simply a socially constructed fiction? (e.g. Berger and Luckmann, 1966)  

  • Dozens of campaign managers

    spontaneously combust each year. It’s just not widely reported.