BVP announcement on Friday

This just in from Bob Vander Plaats, the GOP gubernatorial candidate who has not yet endorsed Republican gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad and has been pondering the idea of running in the fall as an independent candidate:

Bob Vander Plaats will hold a news conference on the Statehouse grounds (at a location to be determined) at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Aug. 6.

List of potential 2012 candidates who’ve visited Iowa

Here a list I’ve compiled of Republicans who’ve visited Iowa since November 4, 2008 (Election Day) and are/have been considered potential presidential candidates in 2012.



  • Congresswoman Michele Bachmann: appearance via video at Iowa Tea Party State Convention in November, 2009;  keynoter for Congressman King fundraiser in April, 2010. 
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: American Future Fund event in Davenport, Iowa House GOP fundraiser in Cedar Rapids, Polk County GOP fundraiser in May, 2010; candidate training, fundraiser for congressional candidate Brad Zaun, July, 2010.
  • Congressman Ron Paul: campaign fundraiser for state senate candidate Kent Sorenson in November, 2009; keynoter for Campaign for Liberty conference in Des Moines in May, 2010; keynoter for Iowa GOP convention-eve event in June, 2010.
  • Congressman Mike Pence, Iowa GOP fundraiser in Linn County,  Congressman King fundraiser in July, 2009; appearance via satellite at an Iowa GOP rally in Iowa City in April, 2010.
  • Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum: American Future Fund speech to Dubuque, appearances in central Iowa in October, 2009; keynoter for Iowa Christian Alliance event in March, 2010; keynoter for luncheon at Iowa Republican Party state convention in June, 2010.

Additional notes

Nevada Senator John Ensign was in Iowa early in June of 2009 to deliver an American Future Fund lecture. Lots of stories were written at that time, describing Ensign as a potential 2012 candidate.  It was right before the story broke about Ensign’s affair, ending such speculation.

On the Democratic side of the ledger, President Obama has visited Iowa three times since November 4, 2008.  Obama was in Newton on Earth Day, 2009.  Obama was in Iowa City on March 25, 2010. Obama was in southeast Iowa/Ottumwa on April 27, 2010.

Vice President Biden was in Iowa, campaigning for Governor Chet Culver, on May 18, 2010.  (He mentioned the BFD.)  Biden was also the keynote speaker at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Day fundraiser in November, 2009.

Final tallies on 2010 Iowa Primary

The statewide canvas is complete; the results were certified yesterday. Below you will see the final vote counts on Republican and Democratic Primary races for governor and in the congressional districts.  (You will also notice the recalibration of percentages in the GOP gubernatorial primary.) 

A total of 302,950 voters cast ballots in the Primary Elections.  Republican Primary turnout was 229,732 and Democratic Primary turnout was 73,218.

Republican Gubernatorial Primary:

Terry Branstad       114,450 votes  49.8 percent

Bob Vander Plaats  93,058 votes  40.5 percent

Rod Roberts               19,896 votes    8.7 percent

Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate:

Roxanne Conlin  52,715 votes —  72 percent

Bob Krause              8,728 votes — 11.9 percent

Tom Fiegen             6,357 votes —   8.7 percent

Republican Primary in First Congressional District

Benjamin Lange   14,048 votes — 40.9 percent

Will Johnson            6,067 votes — 17.6 percent

James Budde            3,347 votes —   9.7 percent

Mike LaCoste            3,076 votes —   8.9 percent

Republican Primary in Second Congressional District

Mariannette Miller-Meeks 18,830 votes  — 47 percent

Steven Rathje                            8,155 votes —   20.4 percent

Christopher Reed                    5,365 votes —   13.4 percent

Rob Gettemy                             4,749 votes —   11.9 percent

Republican Primary in Third Congressional District

Brad Zaun                 19,469 votes —  38.7 percent

Jim Gibbons            13,022 votes —  25.9 percent

Dave Funk                   9,989 votes —  19.9 percent

Mark Rees                    1,989 votes —    3.9 percent

Pat Bertroche                 690 votes —   1.4 percent

Jason Lee Welch            572 votes —   1.1 percent

Scott Batcher                   464 votes —   0.9 percent

Democratic Primary in Fifth Congressional District

Matthew Campbell        7,119 votes — 62.3 percent

Mike Denklau                   2,261 votes — 19.8 percent

Huckabee talks about ’12; Huckabee staffer talks about Iowa governor’s race

Here’s the full transcript from former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s June 27, 2010 appearance on FOX News Sunday.  Host Chris Wallace pressed Huckabee about a run for the White House in 2012. 

WALLACE: Governor, let’s turn to your political future. Where are you on the idea of running for president in 2012?

HUCKABEE: Well, as I’ve said to so many people — and I get asked the question — it doesn’t matter where I am. 

“…I have been very adamant that no decision like this would be, should be, or could be made until after the 2010 elections. That’s where our focus needs to be. What happens after that, God only knows and He hasn’t told anyone yet.

WALLACE: But you — clearly, you’re leaving the door open.

HUCKABEE: I haven’t closed the door. I think that would be foolish on my part, especially when poll after poll shows that there is strong sentiment out there. I end up leading a lot of the polls. I’m the Republican that clearly, at this point, does better against Obama than any other Republican. You know, I’m not totally unaware of that.

[Read more…]

AUDIO: The 2010 Iowa GOP state convention

It’s 9:58 a.m. and a man’s voice coming through the sound system is telling delegates to take their seats here in Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines, Iowa. Convention activities are set to commence at 10 a.m.  A battle looms over who the delegates at this convention will pick as the party’s lieutenant governor nominee:  the man who finished second in the June 8th GOP gubernatorial primary or the woman who the GOP’s gubernatorial nominee has picked.  UPDATE:  Kim Reynolds won 55.6 percent of the delegates’ votes, beating Bob Vander Plaats and winning the LG nomination.  (Listen to speeches, read more here.)

What follows is a live blog of the day.

The Branstad campaign has been handing out pink t-shirts, touting the Branstad/Reynolds ticket.  Branstad is Terry Branstad, the former four-term governor who’s seeking a fifth term in 2010.  Reynolds is Kim Reynolds, the state senator who Branstad has picked as a running mate.  If you don’t know, supporters of Bob Vander Plaats — Branstad’s rival for the GOP gubernatorial nomination — intend to nominate BVP for LG. 

It’s 10 a.m. and Matt Strawn, the Iowa GOP chairman, has just gaveled the convention into order.  Folks are being asked to stand for the invocation.  RNC Committeeman Steve Scheffler gave a little speech first, saying the party needs to be united.  

“We pray that your people will rise up and be involved in the political process this year,” he prayed, then seemed to seek some innoculation for the masses that would prevent an all-out war over the lieutenant governor nomination.  “….Lord, today, be with our deliberations and, in spite of some of our minor differences, that we speak words of love and not hate and ugliness.” 

[Read more…]

Overnight developments, GOP state convention preview

If you missed it, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats said he’s mulling an independent bid for governor and would also accept the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor if he’s nominated today by delegates at the Iowa GOP’s state convention in Des Moines.

Terry Branstad, the GOP nominee for governor, was asked by WHO-TV for comment last night.  During the 10 o’clock news, the station played a snippet of the interview with Branstad which included Branstad using the word “crazy” to describe Vander Plaats.  The tape/story has not been posted on the station’s website.  

During his appearance on WHO Radio, Vander Plaats said he had not been invited to today’s state convention but might consider attending if he’s selected by the delegates to be the GOP’s lieutenant governor nominee.

I asked Danielle Plogmann, the Iowa GOP’s communications director, about BVP’s statement.  “All Iowa Republicans are always welcome as guests to our convention, however formal invitations are only extended to duly elected delegates and alternates,” she wrote, via email last night.  “By tradition and practice, only our nominees have speaking roles.”

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.

[Read more…]

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.”

Branstad reveals running mate choice Thursday

Terry Branstad, the 2010 Republican nominee for governor, is scheduled to reveal his choice for a lieutenant governor/running mate on Thursday morning at 9 o’clock in Ankeny, then he’ll be traveling around the state in a plane (weather permitting) to six other cities.  (Read more below.)

As you may know, Iowa’s governor and lieutenant governor began running together, as a team, in 1990.  In the election cycle before that, 1986, Republican Terry Branstad was re-elected to a second term as governor and Iowans elected Democrat Jo Ann Zimmerman as lieutenant governor. Zimmerman was the first woman elected as lieutenant governor of Iowa.  Since then, no man has been elected lieutenant governor and the major party tickets over a 12 year string were a male/female team until 2006, with the Nussle/Vander Plaats ticket.

*1990 Republican ticket: Terry Branstad/Joy Corning

1990 Democratic ticket:  Don Avenson/Jo Ann Zimmerman

*1994 Republican ticket:  Terry Branstad/Joy Corning

1994 Democratic ticket:  Bonnie Campbell/Leonard Boswell

*1998 Democratic ticket: Tom Vilsack/Sally Pedersen

1998 Republican ticket: Jim Lightfoot/Almo Hawkins

*2002 Democratic ticket:  Tom Vilsack/Sally Pedersen

2002 Republican ticket:  Doug Gross/Debi Durham

*2006 Democratic ticket:  Chet Culver/Patty Judge

2006 Republican ticket:  Jim Nussle/Bob Vander Plaats

2010 Democratic ticket:  Chet Culver/Patty Judge

2010 Republican ticket:  Terry Branstad/?

(* — denotes winning ticket)

Here’s the Branstad campaign press release:

(URBANDALE) – The Governor Branstad 2010 Campaign today announced the Thursday, June 24, 2010 schedule for a statewide tour with former Gov. Terry Branstad and his selection for lieutenant governor. The lieutenant governor selection will be announced via our LieuTEXTant Governor Campaign prior to the tour. To sign up, please visit

The following press conferences are open to the media and public:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

9 a.m.                        Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection
                                    Exec 1 Aviation
                                    3700 Convenience Boulevard
                                    Ankeny, IA
10:15 a.m.               Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection
                                    Advanced Air Inc., Council Bluffs Airport
                                    16801 McCandless Lane
                                    Council Bluffs, IA                          

11:15 a.m.               Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection
                                    Jet Sun Aviation
                                    5815 Mitchell St.
                                    Sioux City, IA

12:30 p.m.               Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection
                                    North Iowa Air Service , 2nd Floor Conference Room
                                    9184  2565th St.
                                    Clear Lake, IA
2 p.m.                        Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection
                                    Dubuque Jet Center
                                    11000 Airport Road
                                    Dubuque, IA                                   

3 p.m.                        Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection
                                    Carver Aero
                                    9230 North Harrison St.
                                    Davenport, IA
4 p.m.                        Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection       
                                    Landmark Aviation
                                    9430 Shepard Court SW
                                    Cedar Rapids, IA

Grassley hires Woolson

Eric Woolson, Bob Vander Plaats’ 2010 campaign manager/communications director/etc., also ran Mike Huckabee’s successful 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign.  News this morning is that Woolson has been hired to work on Senator Chuck Grassley’s 2010 re-election effort.

I seem to recall Woolson wrote a biography of Grassley…

Here’s the news release on the Woolson hire:

             DES MOINES – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley’s re-election campaign has retained Iowa political veteran Eric Woolson as spokesman and to guide its communications activities through the general election.
            “Eric has a unique working relationship with Chuck Grassley over more than 30 years.  He was a newspaper reporter in the late 1970s when he first covered Grassley, wrote his biography in 1995 and has remained in touch during past 13-plus years that he has been a political professional,” campaign manager Bob Renaud said. “He has good understanding of who Chuck Grassley is and what he stands for. He knows Chuck Grassley has an outstanding message and record to communicate and he’s looking forward to getting that word out.”
           Woolson managed Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign to victory in the 2008 precinct caucuses.  He most recently managed the gubernatorial campaign of Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats, moving from the role of communications consultant to lead the campaign when called upon to do so in January.
             “Chuck Grassley has always been there when Iowans need him. He knows this state as few people ever will and he’s a respected voice in Washington who gets things done. That’s why he was just named the hardest-working lawmaker of the 535 senators and members of Congress and why Iowans hold Chuck Grassley in such high regard,” Woolson said. “And, that’s why I am so excited to work with him in this new role.”
            Woolson was a member of the Iowa press corps for 20 years.  He started his newspaper career in Boone in 1976 and worked for newspapers in Madrid, Guthrie Center, Webster City and Keokuk before joining United Press International in 1983. He wrote for the Waterloo Courier for 11 years, including nine as its political reporter/columnist and two years as its editorial page editor.
            He was Gov. Terry Branstad’s communications director and press secretary during Branstad’s final term in office. He served as Iowa communications director to George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign and was the communications director for the Doug Gross for Governor campaign in 2002. 
            In 2002, he founded The Concept Works, a West Des Moines firm that provides public and government relations counsel, marketing services and crisis management for corporate, political and individual clients.