Top staffers leaving Iowa Democratic Party (updated)

Only a few weeks after becoming the state chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, Dr. Andy McGuire is overseeing big staff changes. As first reported by Iowa Starting Line yesterday, Troy Price is leaving after a little more than two years as executive director. Excerpt from an e-mail McGuire sent to State Central Committee members after a conference call on the evening of February 17:

I want to let you all know that our executive director Troy Price and our deputy executive director Kevin Geiken will be transitioning out of the party over the next couple of weeks. Troy will continue at the party until March 3, and Kevin is planning to remain to help with the SCC retreat March 7-8. I want to thank both of them for their outstanding service to the party and wish them all the best in their next endeavors.

I would also like to announce that Ben Foecke will be coming on as our new Executive Director starting February 23. Ben came to work at the Iowa Democratic Party out of college, canvassing door-to-door for the Harkin/Vilsack coordinated campaign in 2001. He became Caucus Director in 2004, overseeing the (then) largest Precinct Caucus in Iowa history. Since 2009, Ben has worked for the Iowa Senate Majority Fund.

I will update this post as needed with further details. UPDATE: Added below the official statement from the Iowa Democratic Party.

SECOND UPDATE: O.Kay Henderson noted that Foecke worked for Mike Blouin’s gubernatorial campaign during the 2006 Democratic primary. McGuire was Blouin’s running mate during that race. Pat Rynard pointed out,

[Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike] Gronstal endorsed and lobbied hard behind the scenes for McGuire’s candidacy, getting involved in internal party politics in a way he hasn’t before. Now one of his long-time staffers may lead the party’s day-to-day operations. As one of the only remaining elected Democratic leaders left in the state, it appears that Gronstal is taking a much more active control over the direction of the state party.


February 18 press release from the Iowa Democratic Party:

Ben Foecke becomes Iowa Democratic Party Executive Director

Price Steps Down to Pursue New Opportunities

Des Moines – Iowa Democratic Party Chair Dr. Andy McGuire announced today that Iowa Senate Caucus Deputy Director, Ben Foecke, will become the new executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party.

“I’m excited to welcome Ben to the team,” said Dr. McGuire. “Ben has over a decade of political experience in Iowa, including serving as Iowa Democratic Party Caucus Director in 2004 and during the past three election cycles with the Iowa Senate Majority Fund, where he played a central role in helping Democrats maintain our Majority in the State Senate. His combination of Party experience and Iowa campaign experience is just what we need for the 2016 Election Cycle.”

“The Iowa Democratic Party is one of the strongest party organizations in the country,” said Foecke. “Together with Dr. McGuire and our statewide network of activists and supporters, I look forward to continuing that tradition of organizational excellence.”

Foecke replaces current executive director Troy Price, who is stepping down on March 3rd to pursue new opportunities in politics.

“It has been an honor to serve as the executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party,” said Troy Price.  “I am proud of the work we accomplished over the past two years. And I look forward to new challenges in Iowa elections.”  

McGuire added: “Troy Price has done an incredible job for the Iowa Democratic Party.  I want to thank him for his service and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Prior to his work at the Senate Majority Fund, Foecke worked several years for the Iowa Democratic Party, starting as a door-to-door canvassing for the 2002 Harkin/Vilsack campaign, and working his way up to Precinct Caucus Director in 2004. As Precinct Caucus Director, Foecke oversaw the (then) largest Precinct Caucuses in Iowa history. And since 2009, Foecke has worked for the Iowa Senate Majority Fund, serving as Communications Director, Finance Director, and most recently Deputy Director where he played a central role in helping Democrats retain the Majority in the State Senate in 2014.

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