Government

John Delaney hires Cedar Rapids consultant as state political director

Consultant Marcia Rogers says she's impressed by his 'workable solutions'

John Delaney, a former Maryland congressman, talks Feb. 2, 2018, with members of the Cedar County Democrats at D’Alicias Cupcakery and Cafe in Tipton. The Democratic presidential hopeful is scheduled to return to the venue Friday. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
John Delaney, a former Maryland congressman, talks Feb. 2, 2018, with members of the Cedar County Democrats at D’Alicias Cupcakery and Cafe in Tipton. The Democratic presidential hopeful is scheduled to return to the venue Friday. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — There will be a lot of presidential hopefuls — “terrific candidates,” Cedar Rapids political consultant Marcia Rogers says — but that didn’t stop her from signing on with former Maryland Rep. John Delaney’s campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

Delaney, who will be making his 21st campaign visit to Iowa this week, announced Monday that Rogers will be his Iowa political director.

Rogers’ appointment along with that of Iowa campaign Co-chairwomen Connie Klug of Adel and Paula Meyer of St. Ansgar brings Delaney’s Iowa staff to 24, more than a year ahead of the Feb. 3, 2020, caucuses.

“We’re excited to hit the ground running in 2019 with a solid, statewide organization and offices from river to river,” said Monica Biddix, who was promoted from communications director to state director.

Delaney, who did not seek re-election in order to pursue this party’s presidential nomination, already has visited the state’s 99 counties.

Rogers acknowledged it’s early to take sides in a race that could attract 20 or more candidates. However, she was so impressed by his “America 2030” presentation at Coe College in August that she read Delaney’s book.

“I said, ‘This is exactly the kind of candidate I want to work with,” she said.

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Rather than offer rhetoric about the problems facing the country, “he came up with strategic, workable solutions” for health care, education and globalization, Rogers said. She also found his spirit of bipartisanship “refreshing.”

Rogers is no stranger to Iowa caucus politics. She hosted Hillary Clinton’s first Iowa house party ahead of the 2008 caucuses and supported her in the 2016 race. Her consulting firm, North Shore LLC, had been involved in campaigns for bond issues and other referendums as well as Iowa campaigns for governor and Congress.

Delaney, the first Democrat to openly challenge Republican President Donald Trump for the job, has compared his early start and grass roots campaign strategy to that of former President Jimmy Carter. Carter, who 40 years ago was a little-known Democratic contender from Georgia among a crowded field, rallied the greatest number of Democratic votes during the 1976 Iowa caucuses, raising his national profile and catapulting him toward eventually securing the party’s nomination.

“It’s a marathon. We have a long haul in front of us,” Rogers said.

The campaign also announced Monday that Mark Galinsky, former outreach director, will serve as the deputy state director. Other senior staff hires include Michelle Bruggenthies as caucus director and Rachel Potucek as deputy communications director. They join Greg Hauenstein, Iowa digital director.

On this campaign swing, Delaney will visit D’Alicias Cupcakery and Café in Tipton at 11 a.m. Friday and open his Cedar Rapids office at 2706 First Avenue NE at 9.m. Saturday. He plans to open field offices Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Sioux City and Waterloo.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

Bill Lukitsch of the Quad City Times contributed to this report.

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