The two men who guided Terry Branstad’s 2010 and 2014 re-election campaigns are in the Chris Christie camp for 2016 and, just out today, is word that another former Branstad chief of staff has endorsed Jeb Bush.
This morning — before 8:30 a.m., as we radio people/farm kids get up early — I asked Branstad the following: “Is there a monolithic Branstad organization that’s aligning behind a candidate?”
Branstad replied, “No,” and then continued. “First of all, a lot of the people who have worked for and supported me are supporting various candidates, but I’m encouraging the people that have helped me be elected governor six times to stay active and participate in the Caucuses.”
Branstad is officially “neutral” in the 2016 race. As you may recall, there’s only one time during Branstad’s tenure as governor that he publicly endorsed a GOP candidate before the Iowa Caucuses were held. That was 20 years ago. Branstad was an active campaigner for Bob Dole before the 1996 Iowa Caucuses.
Below is a list of key Branstad staff, where they are now and their 2016 status.
BRANSTAD GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGERS, starting with the most recent:
Branstad2014 campaign manager Jake Ketzner. He is vice president of LS2 Group in Des Moines. Ketzner is a senior advisor to Chris Christie’s campaign.
Branstad2010 campaign manager Jeff Boeyink. He has been at LS2 Group in Des Moines since leaving the governor’s office in 2013 and this week came the announcement that Boeyink is now a partner at LS2 Group. Boeyink is part of Christie’s Iowa Leadership team.
Branstad1994 campaign manager Brian Kennedy. Kennedy is a lawyer in Bettendorf. Kennedy has endorsed Jeb Bush.
Branstad1990 campaign manager Dave Roederer. Roederer currently is Branstad’s Department of Management director and is neutral in the 2016 presidential race.
Branstad1986 manager Susan Neely. Neely is president & CEO of American Beverage Association. She lives in the DC area. (As we were walking out the door of the Science Center of Iowa this morning, Branstad told me ’86 was his toughest race. Branstad also said he surprised Neely when he asked her to lead his first reelection campaign.)
Branstad1982 cmapaign manager Wendell Harms. Harms is a Des Moines attorney. He has made no public endorsement in the 2016 presidential race.
BRANSTAD CHIEFS OF STAFF, in the order of service:
David Oman was Branstad’s first chief of staff. He is a Des Moines-based consultant. Oman is an Iowa advisor to Jeb Bush’s campaign.
Doug Gross is a Des Moines attorney. He backed Romney in 2008, but has not endorsed in 2016.
Allan Thoms is a Cedar Rapids-based consultant. He endorsed Christie in October.
Dave Roederer (see above list of campaign managers)
Bob Rafferty is a Des Moines attorney and lobbyist. He has endorsed Jeb Bush today.
Gretchen Tegeler is president of the Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa president. She has made no public endorsement in the 2016 presidential race.
Jeff Boeyink (see above list of campaign managers)
Matt Hinch is a Des Moines-based lobbyist. He is backing Bush.
Michael Bousselot is Branstad’s current COS and is neutral in the 2016 presidential race.
BRANSTAD PRESS SECRETARIES/COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTORS, in order of service.
Susan Neely (see above list of campaign managers)
Dick Vohs in 2011 retired after a decade as CEO of Iowa Network Services. He has been active in the Iowa Taxpayers Association and Youth Homes of MidAmerica since then. He has made no public endorsement in the 2016 race.
Christina Martin is a DC-based consultant. (She left Branstad’s Administration and worked as then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s press secretary).
Eric Woolson is the owner of The Concept Works, a public relations firm. He had worked on Walker’s 2016 campaign, but is neutral now.
Tim Albrecht has the title of “message executive” at Redwave Communications, which is owned by David Kochel, a senior strategist for Jeb Bush.
Jimmy Centers is an account executive at Redwave Communications, which is owned by David Kochel, a senior strategist for Jeb Bush.
Ben Hammes is Branstad’s current communications director. He is neutral in the 2016 race.