Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the Iowa Freedom Summit on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)
Two Iowa GOP leaders with central roles in county finance operations have been brought on with team Scott Walker, as the two-term Wisconsin Republican governor increasingly directs his political attention to a 2016 run at the White House.
Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart and Marshall County Treasurer Jarret Heil have joined the Iowa arm of Our American Revival, the political action committee aimed at developing an issues platform for the 47-year-old rising politico, organizers involved in the effort and one of the new operatives told The Daily Iowan Friday morning.
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Together, Airhart, 37, and Heil, 34, have deeply-entrenched experience in campaign construction at the congressional and presidential levels.
Both with be tasked with familiarizing Walker’s rhetoric with the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential voters in their roles.
“I’ve been paying close attention to this and him for a number of years,” Airhart said of the 2016 presidential election and Walker’s political movements in an interview Friday morning.
In recent years, Airhart has served as the Iowa Coalition Director for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential bid, as the Regional Field Director for the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney 2004 presidential campaign, and a district representative for U.S. Rep. Steve King.
Airhart, who is currently serving his second-term as Chairman of the Iowa Republican County Officials Association, will not seek re-election as he diverts more of his attention to team Walker.
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Heil, a 2003 graduate of Central College in Pella, is a former scheduler for U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley and a constituent assistant for former Rep. Tom Latham in Ames. His background also includes farming and agriculture operations.
Airhart and Heil were sought out by moderate and conservative-leaning Republicans who are mulling a 2016 run for their knowledge of the state’s political pulse.
“I’ve always had Walker near and at the top of the list and I want to get to know more about him,” Airhart said. “At the end of the day, I look at those potential candidates, I don’t see them having the ability to unify the party that Scott walker can.”
In a news release, Walker credited Airhart and Heil for their short-term activist work.
“Chad Airhart and Jarret Heil are respected government officials and party activists who’ve accomplished so much on behalf of their local communities in such a short amount of time,” Walker said in the release. “They’ve been elected to leadership positions by their peers because they’re committed to delivering efficient, effective services at the most local level of representative government.”
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The new additions signal Walker’s renewed interest in Iowa politics and its place in the presidential picking process. By the end April, Walker will have visited the state three times in the 2016 caucus cycle, according to current schedule details.
He is scheduled to appear alongside nearly a dozen potential GOP presidential hopefuls at this weekend’s Iowa Agriculture Summit in Des Moines.