IA-Gov: More Branstad campaign hires, Tyler Olson ready to announce

Governor Terry Branstad’s re-election campaign announced four hires today in preparation for next year’s election. I’ve posted the campaign press release after the jump. Phil Valenziano, who will serve as political director, joined the Branstad campaign full-time two months ago to focus on grassroots organizing and public events. Jake Ketzner and Jimmy Centers will serve as campaign manager and communications director, respectively. Both have worked in the governor’s office for some time but left for a while to help run Representative Steve King’s 2012 re-election campaign. Vonna Hall will be the Branstad campaign’s office manager after doing the same job for the Republican Party of Iowa since 2010. So far, Branstad’s campaign has $2 million cash on hand. When the fundraising reports are available online, Bleeding Heartland will take a closer look at the donors.

Meanwhile, State Representative Tyler Olson has scheduled public events for July 9 in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and Mason City. Of those cities, only Cedar Rapids is in the first Congressional district, making it a near-certainty that Olson will announce his campaign for governor tomorrow. The four-term Iowa House Democrat is roughly the same age Branstad was when he first ran for governor in 1982. Two other Democrats have previously announced plans to run for governor: State Senator Jack Hatch and former State Representative Bob Krause.

Any comments about the governor’s race are welcome in this thread. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are replete with jokes about Branstad racing “full speed ahead” on his campaign–a reference to the speeding incident that prompted a 25-year veteran of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to file a formal complaint. There is no excuse for state troopers driving the governor at 20-25 mph over the speed limit. He’s not above the law and shouldn’t endanger people’s lives to get back on what Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds calls an “ambitious schedule.” It’s not credible to suggest that Branstad has no input on the driving or didn’t realize his SUV he was riding in was speeding.

The Iowa Democratic Party launched an anti-Branstad “Iowa Problem Causer” website today. Republicans (not clear whether in Iowa or on the National Republican Senatorial Committee) have registered a similarly named Iowa Problem Causer site to shine an unflattering spotlight on Representative Bruce Braley. The Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate is presenting himself as an “Iowa Problem Solver.”

UPDATE: Senate President Pam Jochum told the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald that she is not likely to run for governor next year, “but I haven’t made up mind for sure.”

Branstad, Reynolds announce $2 million cash-on-hand, campaign committee hires

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 8, 2013

(URBANDALE, Iowa) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced their campaign committee – The Governor Branstad Committee – has reached $2 million cash-on-hand and has hired Jake Ketzner to serve as

campaign manager, Phil Valenziano to serve as political director, Vonna Hall to serve as office manager and Jimmy Centers to serve as communications director.

“We are pleased with our committee’s fundraising efforts as Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and I continue laying the groundwork for a potential 2014 campaign,” said Branstad. “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.”

Jake Ketzner, a resident of Clive, Iowa, previously worked as a policy advisor for Branstad and Reynolds in the Office of the Governor. Prior to his work at the Capitol, Ketzner served as Rep. Steve King’s (IA-04) 2012 campaign manager against Christie Vilsack. He served as Branstad and Reynolds’ organization director in 2010.

Phil Valenziano moved from New Jersey to Iowa in 2010 to work for the Republican Party of Iowa’s victory campaign. He served as Gov. Mitt Romney’s state field director for the 2012 Iowa caucus and went on to serve

as Romney for President’s New Hampshire state director during the 2012 general election.

Vonna Hall has spent the last three and a half years serving as the Republican Party of Iowa’s office manager. Hall is a resident of Pleasant Hill, Iowa.

Jimmy Centers, a resident of Des Moines, served as the Northeast Iowa field director for Branstad and Reynolds in 2010. Following the 2010 race, Centers served as deputy communications director in the Office of the Governor. In 2012, Centers served as communications director for Rep. Steve King’s (IA-04) re-election campaign.

“Governor Branstad and I are pleased with the additions to our committee team,” said Reynolds. “Our robust fundraising has given us the opportunity to begin the grassroots outreach well in advance of the 2014 elections and ensures that our team will be reaching out to activists and voters in all ninety-nine counties through county festivals, parades, barbeques, and door-to-door organizing.”

More information and campaign updates can be found on Branstad-Reynolds’ Facebook page, Twitter account and Instagram account or at www.BranstadReynolds.com.

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