DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov.-elect Terry Branstad named top leaders of his transition effort Wednesday morning, only hours after he became the first candidate in 48 years to unseat an incumbent Iowa governor.
Branstad, a Republican who served four terms as governor from 1983 to 1999, asked David Roederer to head his transition team. Roederer served as chief of staff during part of Branstad's 16-year tenure and has remained involved in Statehouse politics.
"The enormity of the task is not lost on me," Roederer told The Associated Press.
Roederer said he met with Branstad early Wednesday to begin mapping out the transition from Democratic Gov. Chet Culver's administration. Branstad will be inaugurated Jan. 14.
"My expectation is it will not be a tough transition," said Roederer.
Branstad's victory marked the first time since 1962 that a sitting Iowa governor had lost re-election. The victory came on a night that Republicans also won a majority in the state House and were still holding out hope that they would share control of the Senate, pending the outcome of close races.
Culver spokesman Jim Flansburg said officials have set aside space at the Statehouse for a transition operation.
"Both camps have started talking to each other about the transition," Flansburg said. "Going forward it's business as usual."
Branstad also named Jeffrey Boeyink as his new chief of staff. Boeyink was Branstad's campaign manager, and is a former lobbyist for Iowans for Tax Relief.
Also Wednesday, Branstad announced Tim Albrecht would be his communications director. That's the same role that Albrecht played during Branstad's campaign.
Branstad is under severe time pressures as he begins the transition, filling key positions and pulling together a new budget by late January.
The Republican surge in the Legislature could make life easier for Branstad as he works to implement his plans for cutting business taxes and reducing the size of government. But it also means the new governor will have to get to know new legislators as he begins his two-month transition.
"There are a lot of new faces in the Legislature," Roederer said.
Branstad said in a statement that he was announcing his initial appointments quickly because voters expected fast action.
"Iowans expect us to hit the ground running and the appointment of these three capable individuals to lead our transition efforts shows we are serious about beginning this process immediately and preparing our team to be ready to act on day one," Branstad said.