Democrats highlight GOP candidate dispute over gas tax

The Iowa Democratic Party has posted video of a GOP event in eastern Iowa this past weekend.  It was an event at which State Representative Chris Rants of Sioux City, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, said he’d been accosted (verbally) by a group of road builders.  According to Rants account of the accosting, the road builders say former Governor Terry Branstad has told them he’d support raising the state tax on motor fuel if he’s elected governor (again) in 2010.  Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat who intends to seek reelection in 2010, has repeatedly said he opposes a gas tax increase.

The news release from the Iowa Democratic Party — courtesy of Ali Glisson, the new IDP communications director — is below.  A few lines about her are below as well.

DES MOINES, IA – Terry Branstad is telling Iowans he wants to increase the gas tax on Iowa drivers, according to Christopher Rants, a Republican candidate for Governor.

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman reacted to the remarks Monday, calling them “deeply troubling in that it would seem Terry Branstad has not learned his lessons about tax increases on Iowans and intends to be a repeat offender.”

Saturday at a dinner in Dubuque featuring several GOP candidates, Rants departed from his standard stump speech and launched into an attack on the former Governor for a proposal to raise the gas tax.  He told the group that he struggled with whether to share information provided to him earlier in the day in Decorah by a GOP activist.

“I told him, you’re not going to get a candidate to tell you what you want to hear,“ Rants said. “And he told me that’s not true – Terry Branstad will raise the gas tax.”

Following the Decorah meeting, Rants was surrounded by activists  supporting an increased gas tax, or “highway user fee.”  Rants, who opposes a gas tax increase, called the meeting “uncomfortable.”

If Branstad were to increase the gas tax, it would not be the first time.  Iowans already pay an additional 5 cents per gallon because of the Branstad tax.  The former Governor apparently has not been specific about the amount he wants to raise the tax.

“Terry Branstad has proven he’ll raise the gas tax, and the test is whether he’s ready to do it again,” Kiernan said.  “Iowans deserve an answer to the question: ‘Will Branstad raise the gas tax?’“

The full video of Rants’ Dubuque remarks is available at

Iowa Democratic Party Announces Ali Glisson as Communications Director

DES MOINES, IA – Iowa Democratic Party Chair Michael Kiernan announced today Ali Glisson will be the new Communications Director for the Iowa Democratic Party.

“Ali Glisson is instrumental in building on the Democratic success in the past two election cycles. She brings unique experience that will help re-elect Governor Culver, elect a strong Democratic Senator to join Tom Harkin, and the whole Democratic ticket,” Kiernan said. “Ali brings a combination of traditional and new media communications experience that have been vital for Democratic victories at every level.”

Glisson most recently worked for the Lawton Chiles Foundation as Communications Director in Tallahassee, Florida working to promote children’s health and education issues. Before her work with the Lawton Chiles Foundation, she previously worked for Hillary Clinton for President, managing the campaign’s online web presence in a number of states, working to raise money and recruit volunteers. She has also worked with the Florida Democratic Party.

“It is exciting to be a part of the Iowa Democratic Party and join this amazing team. I am confident that I can help deliver our message to voters across Iowa.”  said Glisson.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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


  1. Kay,
    I am looking back with fondness at our Iowa Press days….I was always afraid to do David’s make-up 😉 Anyway, I’m just wondering if you thought there was still any unbias journalism going on out there? Who do you trust to be straight up? I have given up on the CNN’s, FOX’s and the networks of the world and I’m left like most wise people to figure it out for themselves. Is there anyone left that you can trust?….other than you and Mike Glover? 😉 We need the Mac back 😉