The Governor’s chief of staff has resigned after about half a year on the job to take on a new role in Cedar Rapids redevelopment. John Frew joined the Culver administration last fall and his “immediate” departure follows last week’s news that a third Culver campaign manager was leaving.
Frew says Culver always knew he would leave his chief-of-staff role once the 2010 legislative session was over. “It’s bittersweet,” Frew says. “I like Chet Culver a great deal. He’s a very good friend, but this was the length of time we agreed on and so it was time to go.”
Frew says Culver hired him to negotiate a new deal with the state employee labor unions, push Culver’s legislative agenda during the session and root out problems in the Iowa film office.
“He’s entering into a period where it’s very little government and the focus is on the campaign,” Frew says. “And my role was to get (Culver) to this point.”
Frew worked for Culver’s father, former U.S. Senator John Culver, and Frew ran Tom Harkin’s first campaign for the U.S. Senate. Frew had a long career in private development in the Denver area and in 1995 ran unsuccessfully to be that city’s mayor. Frew is leaving Culver’s staff and taking over as project manager for the construction of a new “events center” in Cedar Rapids.
“This is like a 14-person relay race,” Frew says. “I merely handed the baton to the next person.”
Culver’s legal counsel, Jim Larew, has been named the governor’s new chief of staff.
Frew’s exit and the double-duty for Culver’s legal counsel comes as campaign contributions to Culver’s reelection bid which came from backers of a new Fort Dodge casino are being investigated by the state Division of Criminal Investigation.
Culver’s new campaign manager, Donn Stanley, says neither he, his campaign staff nor anyone in the governor’s office can comment on an ongoing D.C.I. investigation.
“However, neither the governor’s office nor the governor’s campaign has any reason to believe that anyone with either organization is a target in the investigation,” Stanley said in a written statement. “Further, the governor’s office and the campaign office have fully cooperated with the investigators at the governor’s direction.”
Stanley was named Culver’s campaign chief last week. He said on April 9, the campaign donated the $25,000 it received from three Fort Dodge casino supporters to an undisclosed charity.