Although she avoided making the early trips to Iowa during the 2018 cycle, Senator Elizabeth Warren has already secured an impressive line-up of Iowa campaign operatives that will help put her into serious contention for the Iowa Caucus. Her campaign tells Starting Line that Kane Miller, Emily Parcell, Janice Rottenberg and Brendan Summers have all signed on to be part of Warren’s Iowa operation.
The news comes before Warren’s inaugural visit to Iowa this weekend, where she’ll hold events in Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Sioux City and Storm Lake. She announced her official presidential exploratory committee on Monday.
All four of Warren’s hires have the experience to where they could easily serve as state directors for any top-tier candidate, making it particularly noteworthy that Warren was able to recruit all of them. There’s a limited pool of top Iowa staffing talent to go around for the very expansive 2020 field, so taking this group of people off the board so early may put pressure on other potential candidates to speed up their timelines.
Warren’s addition of Summers to her team brings on a former top Bernie Sanders adviser. Summers served as Sanders’ caucus director in 2016, which should help Warren create a caucus strategy that builds upon her fellow progressive senator’s success from four years ago. Summers has worked in Iowa politics for many cycles, and he knows the ins and outs of the caucus process better than few others from his time as the state party’s caucus-to-convention and caucus director in 2008 and 2012. He most recently worked for Jason Kander’s Let America Vote organization.
Rottenberg served as the Iowa Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign director in the 2018 cycle, a year where Democrats broke record early vote and turnout numbers, flipped two congressional seats and picked up several Iowa House districts. She was the field director for the state party in 2014, was a top organizing staffer on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 caucus campaign, and has also held key roles in Ohio and Virginia campaigns.
Miller guided Abby Finkenauer’s congressional campaign to victory in Iowa’s 1st District this past year, electing one of Iowa’s two first female members of the U.S. House. He was also Clinton’s Iowa state director in the 2016 general election after serving as a regional field director in the caucus.
Parcell is a longtime Iowa staffer and consultant, working as Barack Obama’s political director for his 2008 Iowa Caucus team. She’s been through many caucus campaign cycles, including as part of Dick Gephardt’s 2004 and Al Gore’s 2000 teams. Parcell started up her own consulting firm several years back, and has earned a reputation as one of the best and most creative direct mail strategists in Iowa and around the country.
by Pat Rynard