(Not really a) Surprise? McKinley drops out

State Senator Paul McKinley, a Republican from Chariton who serves as the Iowa Senate’s Minority Leader, said in July that he would explore the idea of running for governor.  While other candidates appeared at numerous party events and forums over the past four months to advance their candidacies, McKinley did not.  In August, McKinley said former Governor Terry Branstad’s expected entry into the race would probably prompt him to withdraw. That withdrawal was made today.

Read the statement below:

McKinley Withdraws From Gubernatorial Race, Remains Focused on Winning Back Iowa Senate Majority
2010 elections provide tremendous opportunities for Republicans up and down the ballot
CHARITON, IA – Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) today announced he is withdrawing his candidacy to be the next governor of Iowa and will continue to devote his complete focus and attention on winning back a Republican majority in the Iowa Senate.
“The actions taken by the Culver administration and the Democrats in the Legislature during the last three years have made it abundantly clear that Iowa needs new leadership and a new direction,” said McKinley. “I am confident that next November, Iowans will elect a Republican governor and add many more Republicans to the Legislature. With Republicans leading the way in Iowa, our state will finally get serious about curbing our out-of-control spending and higher taxes brought forth by Governor Culver and legislative Democrats, we will finally get serious about making it easier to create good jobs and we will give our citizens a greater voice in their own government.”
McKinley has spent the past several months traveling the state talking with Iowans, raising money to elect more Republicans to the Senate and recruiting highly competitive candidates who will propel the Senate Republicans back into the Majority. There are 19 Democrat held seats up and only 6 Republican seats in 2010 and many outstanding business, community and elected leaders have already stepped forward to announce their campaigns with several others coming in the future.
“As I’ve traveled extensively to all corners of this state in the past few months and visited with taxpayers, business owners and community leaders, I am confident that we are witnessing a real political sea change in Iowa. Senate Republicans will continue to play a major role in renewing Iowa and getting our state back on the right track,”said McKinley. “Every Democrat on the ballot next year should be worried because Iowans have grown angry and frustrated with the unacceptable direction offered by this governor and Democrats in the Legislature.”

UPDATE:  Two GOP candidates who are running issued statements.

Statement by Christian Fong, Republican Candidate for Governor
“Paul McKinley is a leader, not just in Republican politics, but in the debate about how best to move our state forward.  I commend him for his passion in the areas of job creation, economic development and education reform.  While he has chosen to no longer be a candidate for Governor, his ongoing efforts to retake the Iowa Senate are invaluable to the future of Iowa

Statement from Gov. Branstad on
Sen. McKinley’s decision to focus on the Senate

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad today released the following statement on Sen. Paul McKinley’s decision to withdraw from the gubernatorial race and instead focus on Republican efforts in the Senate:

“Senator McKinley is a passionate advocate for the state of Iowa and I support him in his efforts to regain Republican control in the Iowa Senate. His leadership will be extremely valuable in spearheading Republican initiatives this legislative session, and ushering in a GOP victory next November. I called the senator with a pledge to assist him in any way I can with the efforts of Senate Republicans.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.