Vander Plaats: “I’m not leaving…going to stay in the game.”

“I am walking off the field with my head help up high, but I’m not leaving either.  I mean, I am going to stay in the game because I feel I owe it to a lot of people to be their voice, maybe to be their face on a lot of issues.” — Bob Vander Plaats, on June 25, 2010, on WHO Radio.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats is on The Steve Deace Show on WHO Radio this afternoon.  Vander Plaats hasn’t made any comments in public since Primary Night.   UPDATE: Here’s the Radio Iowa roundup of what Vander Plaats said this afternoon.

(From a 6/8/10 Radio Iowa story) …Vander Plaats told reporters (back on Primary Night) that he feels good about this race and the others he’s run. “You know, I think we’ve won every time to be honest with you,” Vander Plaat said.

“Being a nobody and come within 1,500 votes in ‘02; become the lieutenant governor nominee in ‘06 and winning in Mike Huckabee in 2008 and then, even in 2010, you know coming within eight or nine points — whatever it is now — of Governor Branstad with all the money and the name I.D. and being four terms as governor — that’s not a bad showing.  We have a very loyal base out here and they’re not going away.  They’re going to stay in the fight. I guarantee they’re going to stay in the fight.”

Some of Vander Plaats’ supporters have said they will not support (former Governor Terry) Branstad in the General Election, but Vander Plaats has agreed to sit down and talk about the differences he had with Branstad. ”I think what he and I are going to do is we’re going to sit down and in the business language we say, ‘We’re going to confront the brutal facts,’” Vander Plaats told reporters. “But I think it’s in his best interests, I think it’s in all of our best interests that we come together and we try to unite a party, but not only unite a party, we need to unite a state around some leadership here to advance some goals that we have.”

Vander Plaats 2010 campaign manager, Eric Woolson, sent out the following advisory to reporters on June 23:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats will make his first public comments about the 2010 gubernatorial campaign since Primary Night on Friday, June 25, when he appears on the Steve Deace Show from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

There were national and local newscasts at the “top of the hour” as we say in radio.  (I’m listening to WHO-Radio live online.)  The show, which is called Deace in the Afternoon, started at 5:09 p.m.

“I’m doing very good,” Vander Plaats said to open, saying he’s had a chance to “take a deep breath” and, this weekend, he’ll be helping his oldest son move to New York City this weekend to take a (very good!) job there.

Deace asked if it has been tough to overcome the results. “Anytime you invest as much as I’ve invested in this campaign…anytime you give your best and come up short, that’s tough, but…I would say with our team…and then all the volunteers…these people gave their all.  Win or lose, you walk off the field with your head help up high. I am walking off the field with my head help up high, but I’m not leaving either,” Vander Plaats said. “I mean, I am going to stay in the game because I feel I owe it to a lot of people to be their voice, maybe to be their face on a lot of issues.”

Deace asked BVP if he would have done anything differently.  “We did everything we knew how to do,” Vander Plaats said.

Deace told BVP a lot of his supporters were angry with Rod Roberts, some suggesting Roberts (the third GOP candidate in the June 8th Primary) had been a “human shield” for Branstad.

“I think the listeners need to know I like Rod and I like his wife, Trish, as well.  They are respectable people,” Vander Plaats said.  But Vander Plaats said he was disappointed with a comment from Roberts that he’d read in the Carroll newspaper. Vander Plaats said Robertshad  expressed regret that he hadn’t won 15 or 20 percent. “That was the time when I really thought, ‘Why are you in the race if you can’t win?'” Vander Plaats said.

There was a commercial break.  After the commercial, Vander Plaats talked about the meeting he had with Terry Branstad.  BVP said there were four people in the windowless meeting room:  Vander Plaats, Branstad, Branstad campaign manager Jeff Boeyink and Vander Plaats campaign manager Eric Woolson.

Vander Plaats described it as a “good conversation, but it wasn’t a conversation that…brought us any closer to an endorsement” of Branstad.

Vander Plaats said Branstad indicated to him that the race in November would “be won with independents.”  Vander Plaats said Branstad was “probably not seeing the same divide in the party that I see.”

Vander Plaats said his voice mail and email box are “full of people who are not there yet….They want to see what is the conservative agenda…How can we rally around some…conservative issues?…This part of the base wants to be respected…We’re a very real part of this party and we’re not going away.”

Vander Plaats continued to recount the conversation:  “(Branstad) basically said he wanted my endorsement and wanted my endorsement.  I did not demand, but I did suggest…we need to drop the guns toward each other…and I thought the way you bring two, equally divided segments together” would be for Vander Plaats to be Branstad’s running mate.

“That was stiff-armed immediately,” according to Vander Plaats. “…It was obvious that there was no thought given to that.”

More about the meeting: “Quite frankly, that meeting didn’t go well, so to me it would be good if we met again, but there’s been no olive branch.”

Deace and Vander Plaats talked about what Vander Plaats said was a “sizable segment (of the Iowa GOP) who is angry, upset….who wants to see respect be offered.”

At 5:35 p.m. there was a break for news.  At 5:43 p.m. Deace asked about the potential of Vander Plaats running as an independent.

“People quite frankly are tired of politics as usual…I think what people are looking for today…is:  Where is the authenticity?…I’ve been getting a lot of encouragement that way (in regards to running as an independent).

“…However, when I talked about the humility of being able to represent this large block of people…I believe they need to have a voice…and if they’re not going to have respect….that is the only way I might consider an independent run.”

Vander Plaats said he’d only run as an independent if he believed he would have a “clear chance of winning” and if he believes it’s the only way that he “can be a voice” in the on-going debate.

“I have not made that decision…I haven’t even walked very far down that road,” Vander Plaats said of an independent run.   “…A lot of things would have to line up…I’m not saying that I’m anybody special, but my name did garner 41 percent of that vote.  I have not been invited to the State convention tomorrow.”

Would he accept the GOP’s nomination for lieutenant governor, if delegates at the state convention nominate him rather than Kim Reynolds, the woman Branstad has picked as a running mate.

“If that’s the delegates wish, I would definitely listen to what their voice is, but that is not something I’m championing,” Vander Plaats said, suggesting there was “something refreshing” about having an unknown element to tomorrow’s convention.

“I will see if I will be around for the convention,” Vander Plaats said, after revealing he and his wife and eldest son leave for NYC on Sunday “…The probably of me showing up at the convention is very high, but I have not made that decision.”

Would you agree to serve as lieutenant governor?

“I think Branstad would have to acknowledge: do you want to honor the voice of the people?…For me, for someone who has championed the voice of the people….it’d be awfully hard to say (no) to the delegates.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About O.Kay Henderson

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