King: Republicans need to “come together” and back Branstad

Congressman Steve King (R-Kiron, Iowa) stopped by the Radio Iowa studios this afternoon.  He had a “party unity” message.

King said it’s time for his feuding fellow Republicans to bury the hatchet and unite behind Terry Branstad, the G.O.P. nominee for governor. Some factions within the party are upset with the outcome of the June 8th Primary and have vowed to withhold their vote from Branstad in November, arguing Branstad would not be aggressive enough in seeking to undo the Iowa Supreme Court ruling which legalized gay marriage in 2009.

“It’s up to Republicans to take a look and come together because if we fail to do so, we are handing the governorship to Chet Culver for a second term,” King said.  “It’s that simple.”

King spoke with Radio Iowa before Bob Vander Plaats, the Republican candidate who finished second to Branstad in the 2010 Primary, is set to appear on WHO Radio to make his first public statements since Primary Night. Vander Plaats will appear on the Steve Deace Show from 5 to 6 p.m. this evening. 

King suggested Vander Plaats had “put on the Republican jersey” and had his (King’s) respect for running.  King has not spoken to Vander Plaats personally since the primary. 

“It wasn’t really by design.  It was just by happenstance.  If you don’t get it done the first couple of days, you don’t get back to it and I wish I had.  I owed him that,” King said of that unmade phone call.

King made clear he will work against Vander Plaats if Vander Plaats chooses to run for governor as an independent candidate.

“If there’s any formula that extends Chet Culver another term, an independent race for governorship would be it,” King said. “And if there’s any formula that ensures that judge-made same-sex marriage in Iowa would endure perpectually, an independent campaign for governor would be it…They are handing the battlefield over to the people on the other side.

“…The job of governor is bigger than any single candidate.  No matter how badly you want to be governor, this state takes precedence over anyone’s career aspirations and we should all look to do everything we can, within the limits of the positions that we hold or aspire to hold, and look to the cause first.  I’ve heard that sermon out of every one of the candidates.  I hope they all live by it.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

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