The Iowa Democratic Party's State Central Committee met today in Des Moines to rubber-stamp the election of State Representative Tyler Olson as state party chair for the next two-year cycle. No other candidates were considered for the position. Bleeding Heartland posted background on Olson here. Although the Republican Party of Iowa is dysfunctional in many ways, I prefer their method for choosing a party leader. There's no reason not to have multiple candidates speak publicly to the state central committee about the party's pressing tasks and what strengths they would bring to the top job.
Also today, the Iowa Democratic Party announced that Troy Price will be the new executive director. He replaces Norm Sterzenbach, who held that position for six years. Price worked for Governors Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver and later became executive director of the LGBT advocacy group One Iowa. He left that group to serve as political director for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign in Iowa.
Olson and Price have their work cut out for them, with an open U.S. Senate seat to defend and a tough race against Governor Terry Branstad in a midterm election year. The Obama campaign ran a fantastic ground game, but no database or micro-targeting expertise will magically transform a midterm electorate into the presidential-year electorate more friendly to Democratic candidates.
The Iowa Democratic Party's press release announcing its new officers is after the jump. Any relevant thoughts are welcome in this thread.
Free advice for the IDP's leadership team: don't invite the media to cover your Soviet-style election if you're going to kick them out as soon as things get interesting.
Iowa Democratic Party press release, January 26:
State Representative Tyler Olson Elected Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party
State Central Committee Elects 2013-2014 Officers
DES MOINES - The State Central Committee of the Iowa Democratic Party (SCC) today elected officers to serve through 2014. Members of the SCC voted to elect State Representative Tyler Olson to serve as chair, Heather Matson as 1st vice chair, Chris Petersen as 2nd vice chair, Jean Pardee as 3rd Vice Chair, and Ken Sagar as treasurer, and Don Ruby as secretary.
Newly elected Chair Tyler Olson released the following statement following this morning's election:
"Iowa Democrats have a proud tradition of fighting for an economy built from the middle out, equal rights and the idea that our strength draws from the connections we share. I'm honored and excited to help lead the next chapter in that effort alongside our great Democratic elected officials, partners and supporters across the state.
"2014 brings a real opportunity to build on Democrats' gains in Des Moines and Washington, D.C. not just to say we won an election, but to expand educational and job opportunities for all Iowans."
Representative Tyler Olson and his wife, Sarah, live in Cedar Rapids and have two young children. He is Vice-President at Paulson Electric, a family business started by his great-grandfather in 1928 with offices in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Waterloo.
Tyler is a graduate of George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids and earned a law degree from the University of Iowa
Representative Olson was recently re-elected to his fourth term in the Iowa House where he serves as ranking member of the Appropriations Committee.
Additionally, it was also announced today that Troy Price will become the Iowa Democratic Party's new Executive Director, effective Monday, January 28. Price most recently served as Political Director for the Obama campaign in Iowa in 2012. Prior to working on the reelection effort, Price was the Executive Director of One Iowa, the state's largest LGBT advocacy organization, and previously served in the administrations' of former Iowa governors Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver.