Iowa Democratic Party chairman resigns for health reasons

Iowa Democratic Party chairman Michael Kiernan just held a news conference to make the following announcement:  he has a tumor in his neck and is resigning immediately (as of tomorrow night). Click on the following link to listen to Kiernan’s announcement/news conference, which lasted about six minutes:  KiernanAnnouncement

Kiernan told reporters he wanted to make a public announcement because of all the media attention recent Culver staff exits have drawn. “I want to be very clear about that because of much of the criticisms that are out there regarding Governor Culver,” Kiernan said.

Kiernan told reporters Governor Culver had advised against making a detailed explanation of his resignation in public, but Kiernan said he thought it was important to make the disclosure.

“I noticed in late January a lump behind my right ear and after a battery of tests I have been diagnosed with a tumor in the deep lobe of my saliva gland,” Kiernan said. “I will be treated at the University of Iowa Hospitals.”

Kiernan indicated he and his doctor are developing a treatment plan that will “ultimately” require surgery.

“This is something pressing, otherwise I would not quit the fight today,” Kiernan said.  “I am stepping down because I need to focus on my health and my family, otherwise I would not leave this fight.”

Kiernan was asked what his “long term prognosis” might be.  “It’s a road that I’ve got to now get on to find out exactly.  I don’t know all the details. I know that it will require surgery,” Kiernan said. “I have had several positive signs that it is not cancer, but until they do the surgery I will not know for sure.”

Read the news release issued by the Iowa Democratic Party below, followed by a statement from the chairman of the Iowa Republican Party.


DES MOINES, IA – Today Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan announced he will resign as Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party effective tomorrow night.
“I am announcing my resignation because of personal health reasons. I am resigning so that I can focus on my family and my health. Believe me when I say that I would be here fighting to elect more Democrats every day if I could.
“I am proud of the work I have been able to do as chairman and we’ve had a lot of successes.  Our 2010 election strategy is set and I am confident that the Party is in a strong position to implement that plan”
Under Michael Kiernan’s chairmanship, the Iowa Democratic Party has maintained our 100,000 voter registration advantage over the Republican Party of Iowa.
Since 2008, Iowa Democrats have won all three special elections in Iowa. House District 30 was even called a ‘bellwether’ for this election cycle by top Republicans and it will be a ‘bellwether’ that shows Iowa Democrats will win again in November. 
The Iowa Democratic Party has successfully outraised the Republican Party of Iowa for the past year and a half. In 2009, Iowa Democrats raised $1 million more than Iowa Republicans, which will go towards our coordinated campaign efforts to make sure we send Roxanne Conlin to represent us in the Senate and that Governor Chet Culver is re-elected.
Kiernan also serves on the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws committee where he works to ensure Iowa’s caucuses will remain First-in-the-Nation.
Until a new chair is formally elected, Vice-Chair Sue Dvorsky will act as chair.

Kiernan, 35, was elected Chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party in February of 2009. Chairman Kiernan ran Governor Chet Culver’s campaign for Secretary of State before serving two successful terms as an At-Large Councilman in Des Moines. He was born and raised in Madison County, Iowa.

Statement from Iowa GOP Chairman on Michael Kiernan
DES MOINES – Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn issued this statement following Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan’s announcement that he is resigning due to health reasons:
“I consider Mike a friend and I wish him a full and fast recovery. While we often passionately disagree about politics, we respect one another. Mike has been a strong leader for his party, helping protect Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status. My thoughts and prayers are with Mike and his wife, Erin.” 

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.