Hoover Presidential Library/Univ. of Iowa to explore
History of the Iowa Caucuses
History of the Iowa Caucuses November 7, 2015 from 1 to 5 p.m.
The History of the Iowa Caucuses is the first of a series of programs examining the past, present and future of the caucuses through a partnership of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum, the Hoover Presidential Foundation, and the University of Iowa Public Policy Center.
Until relatively little known Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter made a surprising first place finish in the Iowa Caucuses in 1976, the media had not paid much attention to him. With Carter’s surprising win, his campaign garnered more media attention, ultimately gaining the Democratic nomination for President and winning the general election over Gerald Ford. How did he do it, and what are some of the unknown stories that can be shared that will give us insight into the 2016 Caucuses?
Tim Kraft was Carter’s campaign manager in Iowa, whose strategy and organizing efforts led to Carter’s win, and eventual election. Kraft will speak on some of the strategies and stories on how it was done at a free program, Nov. 7 at the Hoover Presidential Library’s Figge Auditorium. A panel discussion will follow.
Democratic caucus managers Richard Bender and Jeani Murray, and Republican caucus manager Eric Woolson will share the history of the Iowa Caucuses and how they differ. A second panel including members of the media will discuss what makes a successful campaign and the media’s role. David Yepsen, a longtime political reporter from the Des Moines Register, O. Kay Henderson, Iowa Public Radio’s news director, and WHO-TV in Des Moines weekend anchor Dave Price, who has recently released his first book, “Caucus Chaos” will join us in a media panel discussion.
“Herbert Hoover was a public servant for the last 50 years of his life, who was extremely interested in better public policy discussions and decisions. I have no doubt if he was alive today, he would be vitally interested in how the Iowa Caucuses have shaped politics and public policy in America,” stated Jerry Fleagle, Executive Director of the Hoover Presidential Foundation.
ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS:
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Tim Kraft began his White House service as Special Assistant to the President for Appointments at the onset of the Carter Administration. He originally supervised the Office of Scheduling and Office of Advance. He also held the position of private secretary to the President and social secretary to the President. In late April 1978, Kraft’s title was changed to Assistant to the President and his area of supervision included the Offices of Presidential Personnel and Presidential Messages. In 1979, the White House announced that Kraft was leaving to join the Carter-Mondale Committee as campaign manager.
PANEL OF IOWA CAUCUS MANAGERS: Richard Bender was an architect of the modern Democratic caucus system. He became a special assistant to Senator John Culver in 1975. Bender was on Tom Harkin’s staff from 1977 till 2013. He was his senior legislative assistant, focused on appropriations, taxes, economic development and infrastructure. Throughout his years in Congress, Bender remained involved in the Iowa caucus process and deflected various efforts to replace Iowa’s first in the nation position.
Jeani Murray served as an Iowa Representative, Leonard Boswell’s Chief-of-Staff on Capitol Hill, a National Field Director for a major public interest non-profit, Executive Director of the Iowa Democratic Party, and a campaign manager.
Eric Woolson of West Des Moines, Iowa, has worked for a mix of candidates over the years. In 2008, Woolson was the Iowa campaign manager for presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. He was senior advisor for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign in 2011 and was also the Iowa communication director for three other GOP campaigns – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley in 2010; Doug Gross for governor in 2002; and George W. Bush for president in 2000 – as well as one Democratic campaign: then Delaware U.S. Sen. Joe Biden’s 1988 presidential bid.
PANEL OF IOWA CAUCUS REPORTERS: David Yepsen became director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on April 1, 2009. Previously, he had a 34-year career with the Des Moines Register serving as the paper’s chief political writer, political editor and political columnist. Dave Price is the political director and weekend anchor at WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa. His work has earned him a national Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award, along with dozens of state and regional awards. Dave also recently released his first book, Caucus Chaos, his insider’s account of the unique Iowa Caucuses.
O. Kay Henderson, News Director — In 1987, Kay became one of the three founding members of the Radio Iowa network newsroom. In 1994, she became the network’s news director. She is a featured reporter and commentator on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press.”
The History of the Iowa Caucuses is a free event at the Hebert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum in West Branch, Iowa. The Museum is located ¼ mile off Interstate 80 at Exit 254, for more information: www.hoover.archives.gov or www.ppc.uiowa.edu.