Starting Line has learned from multiple sources that former Senator Jim Webb has hired Rania Batrice to head up a potential Iowa Caucus campaign. From Texas, she is scheduled to begin work in the lead-off caucus state in April. Batrice has worked on Iowa campaigns in the past. She was Congressman Dave Loebsack’s campaign manager in 2008 and served on John Edwards’ caucus campaign in 2007-2008. She has recently worked on a number of races in Texas and North Dakota, including running Kinky Friedman’s campaign for Texas Agriculture Commissioner. Batrice also did a stint as the North Dakota Democrats’ communications director and ran a congressional campaign in that state.
Webb has an Iowa trip planned in April: he will speak at the Polk County Democrats’ fundraising dinner on April 10th in Des Moines. With many candidates planning likely April start dates (it’s the start of a new fundraising quarter), it’s possible that event could be part of an announcement tour swing. He is the only Democratic candidate to have actually formed an exploratory committee, but hasn’t been very visible on the early state circuit lately. In recent conversations with Starting Line, several Democratic insiders have wondered if Webb will really jump in the race. However, the hiring of a state director seems to point more toward an actual run.
Webb spent three days in Iowa in 2014, stumping for Democratic candidates Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack and Jack Hatch. Webb sits near the bottom of early polls for the caucus, garnering just 3% of the likely caucus-goer choices in a February Des Moines Register poll.
by Pat Rynard