Starting Line has learned that a major staff shakeup is coming at the Iowa Democratic Party. Current Executive Director Troy Price is headed out. A conference call is planned for tonight with the state central committee, where new party chair Dr. Andy McGuire will discuss the transition. The changes are currently planned to be publicly announced on Wednesday.

Ben Foecke is rumored to be the odds-on replacement for the executive director spot, having already been given extra leadership responsibilities under McGuire. He has worked for Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal with the Senate Majority Fund for the past three campaign cycles. Foecke served in leadership roles during the 2004 coordinated campaign, and was Mike Blouin’s political director in the 2006 gubernatorial primary. During that race, McGuire was tapped as Blouin’s running mate.

Starting Line’s sources indicate that Price chose to leave on his own accord [edit: multiple sources now saying that he did, but wasn’t given much of a choice], as has Kevin Geiken, the Deputy Director for the party. Several have mentioned that Geiken has a job lined up with an Iowa political consulting firm. It’s likely that had Kurt Meyer or Jim Mowrer been elected as chair last month, the two would have stayed. It sounds as if the transition to the new party chair has not been as smooth as it could be, though all involved appear to be working toward a stable hand-off to the new director.

McGuire did state during her campaign for state chair that she was undecided on keeping on the current staff. Also of interesting note: 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.

Updates:

  • Ben Foecke has been named the new Executive Director of the Iowa Democratic Party.
  • The call last night with the state central committee was relatively quick – McGuire thanked the current staff for their service and highlighted Foecke’s background in the party.
  • Bleeding Heartland posted this morning an excerpt from McGuire’s email to central committee members after the call.
  • Starting Line heard from a number of sources that Price wasn’t really given much of a choice in leaving his post, and would have preferred to stay on. Price and Geiken are well-known and very well-liked among the party’s activists and leaders, several of whom are reportedly not happy with the manner of their departure.

 

by Pat Rynard
Posted 2/17/15

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