"The original sin of a politician is hubris. You never take anything for granted," Gross said. "He's always run like he's 20 points behind. He's as good a retail campaigner as this state has ever seen."
As hiring for the campaign picks up, Gross said he expected Jake Ketzner will be hired as campaign manager. Ketzner worked on Branstad's 2010 campaign and ran U.S. Rep. Steve King's re-election campaign last year. Boeyink declined comment on staffing questions and Ketzner did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Boeying's likely appointment reveals one facet of Branstad's longevity. Colleagues said that while he has a core of longtime advisers, he's always looking for new talent and new campaign tools. Boeyink, for example, is a more recent addition to his team, coming on for the 2010 campaign after running a tax policy group and working for the Republican Party of Iowa.
"He's been very wise in terms of keeping people with him that he trusts, at the same time bringing in new people. I think he feeds off their enthusiasm," Gross said.