Pawlenty fills out Iowa staff

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Tim Pawlenty today announced his Iowa staff team, and it will be led by the majority whip in the Iowa state House.

Erik Helland will lead the 10-member staff, in addition to his duties in the legislature. He also worked on John McCain’s 2008 campaign and was formerly midwest director for former New York Gov. George Pataki’s political action committee.

Annie Kelly, the former operations director for Pawlenty’s PAC who had already been working in Iowa, will be deputy state director.

The list includes some Minnesota names, like Tony Zammit, who was deputy political director of Sen. Norm Coleman’s 2008 campaign, and Andrew Wagner, who had interned with the Minnesota state Republican Party.

One notable name not on there is that of Ben Foster, Pawlenty’s first staffer in the state, who resigned last week from the campaign after an incident earlier this month where he was found drunk in an Ankeny, Iowa backyard, trying to get into a house that wasn’t his. Foster was initially suspended withouth pay for two weeks, but later decided to resign.

The full list, including bios provided by the Pawlenty campaign, is below:

Helland is the Iowa House majority whip and serves on the Ways and Means, State Government and Local Government committees. His political experience includes working as Midwest political director for former New York Gov. George Pataki’s 21st Century Political Action Committee and as an Iowa field staffer for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. Helland earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from Drake University.

Kelly, a Philadelphia native, was deputy director of Pawlenty’s 2006 re-election campaign. A senior associate with the Washington-based firm BlueFront Strategies, she is a veteran of the McCain presidential campaign and a former employee of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She also interned in the White House Office of Senior Advisor Karl Rove.

Daniel Catlin has political experience in several states. He was a field director for the Alabama Republican Party, campaign manager for an Alabama state Senate candidate and field director for Americans for Limited Government in two Virginia congressional districts.

Andrew Wagner of Minneapolis has worked as an intern for the Minnesota Republican Party and a state senator. He was the campaign manager for a Minnesota House candidate and was active in the Minnesota College Republicans.

Andy Swanson of Dayton, Iowa, served as deputy campaign manager for Rep. Tom Latham’s 2010 re-election campaign. He also was a field representative on the McCain presidential campaign and regional coalitions director in Ohio and Pennsylvania for the McCain-Palin organization.

Anthony Zammit, an Eau Claire, Wis., political consultant and a former chairman of the Minnesota College Republicans, was deputy political director for U.S. Sen. Norman Coleman’s 2008 re-election campaign. He was also Statewide Catholic Coordinator for the Minnesota Victory ’04 campaign.

Dane Nealson of Ames is a former chairman of the Iowa Federation of College Republicans. He was the Iowa Victory field director for the Republican Party of Iowa last year. A former legislative clerk, he also was field director for the 2008 Miller-Meeks congressional campaign and an Iowa field representative for Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign.

John Wesley Vinson was the deputy manager of the 2010 Zaun for Congress campaign. He has also served as a field director for an Oregon gubernatorial candidate, manager of a Virginia delegate candidate’s campaign and field director for an Alabama congressional candidate.

Kevin Kuhle, a Drake University graduate and former student body president, is a legislative clerk in the Iowa House. He was a field director for the 2010 Republican Party of Iowa House Majority Fund staff and managed a 2008 Wisconsin Assembly campaign.

Mike Thom of West Des Moines is a legislative clerk in the Iowa House and was a campaign aide to David Jamison, the 2010 GOP candidate for state treasurer. An Iowa State University graduate working on his master of public administration degree at Drake University, he worked as a USDA biological science aide from 2003 to 2010. 

Rob Anderson, a political science major at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was an intern for Governor Branstad’s 2010 campaign.

Travis Holler, a 2011 graduate of the George Washington University, was an intern in the Office of Presidential Correspondence at the White House in 2007 and 2008. He also was an intern on the Bob McConnell for Governor campaign in Virginia in 2009.

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