A former chairman of the Iowa Republican Party has signed on to help Arizona Senator John McCain improve his political fortunes in Iowa. Chuck Larson, Junior, a state Senator from Cedar Rapids, says McCain brings “a tremendous amount of experience and leadership to the table” of presidential contenders.
Larson is at McCain’s side today as McCain makes four stops around Iowa as a prelude to a 2008 presidential campaign. “He is respected and trusted by Americans and I think that’s the most important thing,” Larson says. “We’ve seen a series of corporate scandals, congressional scandals and ethics are at stake and if there’s one thing Americans can trust is that John McCain has always been a straight shooter and always will be a straight shooter.”
Enlisting Larson as an advisor is a signal McCain will wage different kind of campaign for the White House than he did in 2000. McCain skipped the lead-off Iowa Caucuses and sought to presented himself as a political maverick and outsider in 2000. This time around, McCain is bringing insiders like Larson into the fold to prepare for a presidential run and he’s hired Larson’s college roommate, Terry Nelson, as a top advisor, too.
Nelson was the political director of President Bush’s re-election campaign. Larson is reluctant to come right out and say McCain is running for president. “Senator McCain will develop his own timetable for making that decision,” Larson says. “But I would encourage him to come and visit our state repeated over the coming months.” McCain appeared in Dyersville early this morning to campaign for a Republican legislator.
About 250 people gathered in a local restaurant and McCain spoke and answered questions for over an hour. McCain headlines a noon-time fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle in Cedar Rapids, then McCain does fundraisers this afternoon in Muscatine for the state party and in Des Moines for congressional candidate Jeff Lamberti.