Roberts presents himself as a uniter, not a divider

Perhaps you remember watching the Bradford family in the popular weekly series called, “Eight Is Enough.”  Republican gubernatorial candidate Rod Roberts today suggested sixteen is enough when it comes to the number of years someone named Branstad may serve as governor.

Roberts is the guest on this weekend’s “Iowa Press” on IPTV which airs at 7:30 p.m. tonight.  During the program, Roberts suggested he was a uniter not a divider and the more palatable alternative to competitors Terry Branstad and Bob Vander Plaats.   Here’s the key portion of the show:

Roberts:  “The Republican Party does have an issue and in the other two candidates — former Governor Branstad and Bob VanderPlaats — it’s very apparent  that people who support either of those two candidates have a real problem with the other candidate.  We do have disunity within the party.  I believe that helps the alternative — Rod Roberts — to be the candidate who can appeal to Republicans who might naturally support Bob Vander Plaats or be more comfortable supporting Terry Branstad, but who are concluding a divided Republican Party after the primary cannot succeed against Chet Culver.

“We need a candidate who we can all rally behind and unite behind.  I’m that candidate because a united Republican Party can then go into the general election and, with a united front, then make an appeal to independents and at least conservative Democrats to build the base we need to defeat Chet Culver.”

Question from me: “You have referred to yourself as a new face.  Governor Branstad is seeking a fifth term.  You referenced Bob Vander Plaats as having run for governor for most of the past decade.  Are you trying to fashion yourself as the anti-incumbent?”

Roberts: “I think there is a strong, anti-incumbent mood right now and it’s certainly stated that our elected officials in Washington, DC are unresponsive to the will of the people and there’s strong term-limit sentiment expressed toward Washington, but I think here in Iowa you find people also concluding with former Governor Branstad 16 years is a long time for someone to serve in that office and you’re asking for another four years for a total of 20 and a lot of Iowans find it very difficult to believe that any one person can be that indispensible to leading as governor.

“And with Bob Vander Plaats, you have somebody who has been working at this for the better part of a decade.  People know who he is and it’s almost that there’s a weariness that’s crept in and I’ve undercovered this. It’s like, ‘You know what? We’re moving on and we’re looking for someone new to get behind and support.’

“And I’ve attracted a lot of those people who formerly may have been supporters of Bob Vander Plaats, but they’re very happy to be on board with me…I do believe I’ll be the surprise candidate on June 8.”

Roberts, along with his two Republican competitors, are scheduled to speak tomorrow at Iowa Taxpayer’s Day in Des Moines.  In addition to those three GOP candidates, independent gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Narcisse and Eric Cooper, a Libertarian candidate for governor, will also speak at the event which is sponsored by Iowans for Tax Relief.  Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is to be the keynote speaker.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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