The state’s top Republican insiders have chosen a Republican insider to be the GOP nominee for Secretary of State.
Forty-three-year-old Mary Ann Hanusa, a Council Bluffs native, worked for the first President Bush, then took a job as a field representative for Senator Charles Grassley in 1996. In March of 2001, she returned to the White House to work for the second President Bush. She’s resignng from her job as the director of personal correspondence for the president to run for Secretary of State.
Hanusa’s been living in Arlington, Virginia, but state party officials say she was in Council Bluffs Monday night. She did not respond to Radio Iowa’s request for an interview.
Cullen Sheehan, executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa, says the party’s state central committee unanimously endorsed Hanusa Monday night. “She’s got a strong background in government, presently working at the White House and prior to that working for Senator Grassley in southwestern Iowa,” Sheehan says. “(She) has tremendous management skills and the ability to lead and we think she’ll put together a strong campaign and be a great candidate and eventually a great Secretary of State.”
Sheehan says Hanusa will get the party’s full backing, although he’s not revealing what that means in terms of financial or organizational details. “It’s an open seat. It’s a statewide office and one with tremendous importance,” Sheehan says. “We’re as committed as we can possibly be.”
Hanusa will face Democrat Michael Mauro, the Polk County Auditor and Republican strategists are hoping to tar him with the executive pay scandal at CIETC — a central Iowa job training agency where the top three managers pulled down hefty salaries and big bonuses. Hanusa, by the way, was paid $63,000 a year to be the director of the president’s personal correspondence.
Chuck Allison, the foot doctor who won the GOP primary for the Secretary of State nomination in June, dropped out of the race last month, citing “personal reasons.” That meant the Republican Party’s state central committee had to decide on a replacement.