John Norris Rolls Out Extensive Leadership Team For Gubernatorial Bid

John Norris announced his new statewide steering committee team for his gubernatorial campaign yesterday, putting out a list of 91 well-known activists, elected officials and party leaders. Some of the most recognizable names include State Representatives Jo Oldson and Marti Anderson, Jess Vilsack, Brad Anderson, Dubuque County Recorder John Murphy, Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers, Daryl Beall, Marcia Nichols, Norm Sterzenbach, Dave Swenson, Dusky Terry and Coralville Mayor John Lundell. The county party chairs in Clay and Winneshiek are on board, as are seven former legislators from rural areas and a vast number of party activists from small towns.

The group of supporters represent nearly every area of the state, and Norris has made a particular point of focusing in on rural outreach during this campaign. Norris is originally from Red Oak, ran a restaurant in a small town and served in roles at the USDA. He’s been using that background as part of the pitch on his electability – that the way for Democrats to win in Iowa again is to do considerably better in rural counties where the party has struggled in recent election cycles.

“I am honored to introduce an extraordinary group of Democrats who have volunteered to serve on my Statewide ‘Norris for the People’ Steering Committee,” Norris said in a statement. “Our Steering Committee members are there with you, in rural Iowa and our cities, to start the conversation now about what our state needs most from our next governor.”

On the staffing side, Norris has also added an experienced Iowa operative to the team as his new campaign manager. Lanon Baccam, a U.S. Army veteran who worked in Governor Tom Vilsack’s administration, was appointed as a deputy undersecretary at the USDA and worked on a host of Iowa political campaigns, recently started running Norris’ operation.

Many of the activists in the leadership team have ties back to Vilsack world, most of which were also very involved during Norris’ tenure as the chair of the IDP in the late 90’s. Others come from the farmer activist community that Norris was a key figure in early in his political career.

While Fred Hubbell and Nate Boulton lead early on in the primary, some Iowa political watchers see Norris with the most potential to surprise folks as the campaign continues on. Few others in the state have the depth of knowledge and connections in Iowa politics as Norris, and over time that should make a big impact as more Democrats pay attention to the race.

Norris’ full list of his statewide steering committee team:

Aiddy Phomvisay Jo Oldson, State Representative, Des Moines
Alba Perez Joanne Walton
Alicia Claypool Joe Gorton, President, United Faculty UNI
Andrew Wenthe, Mayor and Fmr. State Representative John Lof
Ann Klees John Lundell, Mayor, Coralville
Ben Rogers, Supervisor, Linn County John Murphy, County Recorder, Dubuque
Bill Hutchins, Fmr. Senate Majority Leader, Audubon John Rowen
Bill Menner Karl Rhomberg
Bill Sueppel Kathryn Dickel
Bob McConnell Kevin Techau
Bob Whittenburg, County Chair, Clay County Kim Motl
Brad Anderson Kirstin Sullivan
Brent Wynja Linda Smoley
Brian Gentry Linda Steensland
Brian Quirk, Fmr. State Representative, New Hampton Lowell Junkins, Fmr. State Senator, Fort Madison
Cal Halliburton Marcia Nichols
Carissa Froyum Marcia Rogers
Connie Samsel Mark Kuhn, Supervisor, Floyd County
Curt Vaudt Mark Powell
Daryl Beall, Fmr. State Senator, Fort Dodge Marti Anderson, State Representative, Des Moines
Dave Leshtz Matt Russell
Dave Swenson Matt Tapscott, County Chair, Winneshiek County
Dennis Harbaugh Mickey Carlson
Deo Koenigs, Fmr. State Representative, St. Ansgar Nancy Roed
Dianne Pickle Norm Sterzenbach, Fmr. Executive Director, Iowa Democratic Party
Don Ruby, Iowa Democratic Party Secretary Pat Murray, Supervisor, Howard County
Donna Bauerly Pat Steinfort
Donna Clothier Pat Sueppel
Donna Winburn Pat Sullivan
Doug Bailey, Supervisor, Hamilton County Phil Specht
Dusky Terry Ray Walton
Emilene Leone Rick Mullin
Frank LaMere, DNC Member Roger Thomas, Fmr. State Representative, Elkader
Greg Lewis Sandra Smith
Heather Matson Sandy Glenn
Jackie Cordon Scott Slechta, 2016 Iowa Teacher of the Year
Jan Norris Sherry Williams
Jane Abell Stephanie Techau
Jane Halliburton Susie Olesen
Janine Grady Terry Kocher
Jenny Jordan Terry O’Brien
Jess Vilsack Tim Ennis
Jesse Harris Tom Grau
Jim Davis Tom Hockensmith, Supervisor, Polk County
Jim Jordan Willard Olesen
Jim Kuhlman


by Pat Rynard
Posted 11/22/17

2 Comments on "John Norris Rolls Out Extensive Leadership Team For Gubernatorial Bid"

  • Impressive. People who care about substantive policy — especially rural policies — should perk up at Dusky Terry and Dave Swenson being on that list.

  • Will Norris have the funds to run early TV commercials like Hubbell does? Having all these names on a list is fine but will it translate into name ID and votes? Will the average Democratic voter and not just the activist Democratic voter perk up, take notice and vote for Norris. All good names on this list. Many of them are names that were associated with Harkin, Vilsack and I am sure have worked with Norris. But now they are just names. John needs to show his qualifications, experience, passion , commitment and compassion. I have been involved with many Democratic campaigns where steering committee names were used to justify support for the candidate. I didn’t think the a group of names were that fruitful for the candidate. The steering committee tactic may have worked in the past but nowadays folks depend on the media like TV and radio to decide which is the best candidate. It takes a lot of money! Name ID is the name of the game and persistent reminders is what helps win. It has been a while since John worked in Governor Vilsack’s office and with Harkin. In my personal opinion he needs to establish more name ID..

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