State Senator Jerry Behn of Boone is officially launching his gubernatorial campaign today, after appearing at numerous Republican events around the state this summer. Radio Iowa posted Behn’s news release here. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before: he wants to rein in “excessive spending” and let Iowans vote on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage (as if we subject minority rights to a majority vote in this country).
Behn also touts his experience as a farmer growing corn and soybeans: “Common Sense is an integral part of farming. You also learn firsthand lessons in freedom, individual responsibility and self reliance.” I’ll wager that Behn’s business model depends on getting subsidy checks from the federal government every year. Most small business owners have to do without those.
Getting back to the news of the day, I see no promising niche for Behn in the Republican field. Whether or not Terry Branstad decides to run for governor, Behn looks to me like he’s fishing to be someone’s running mate. He has nothing to lose by staying in the race, since he was just re-elected to represent Senate district 24 in 2008.
Speaking of gubernatorial candidates with no hope of getting the nomination, Senate minority leader Paul McKinley was a no-show at the Black Hawk County Republican dinner on Sunday. He is not even pretending to run a real campaign.
As for serious contenders, Bob Vander Plaats will officially launch his campaign on Labor Day. Christian Fong was the first candidate to go up on radio statewide. State Representatives Chris Rants and Rod Roberts are still in the exploratory phase but have actively campaigned this summer. Branstad has said he will decide by October whether to run for governor again.
UPDATE: What a joke. After claiming his main issue is balancing the budget, Behn tells Kathie Obradovich and Jason Clayworth of the Des Moines Register that he would have the goal of eliminating Iowa’s state income tax to increase Iowa’s population:
He looks to no-tax states like Texas, Nevada and Florida as models. (And notes that South Dakota also has no income tax.)
But, he said, he doesn’t have a plan for replacing the revenue needed to run the state.
Raise your hand if you want Iowa’s schools and other public services to sink to the levels found in those no-income-tax states. I didn’t think so.
Unfortunately, Behn forgot to mention his get-rid-of-state-income-taxes idea during his half-hour discussion with reporters from Radio Iowa and The Cedar Rapids Gazette. Nor did Behn bring that up during his interview with WHO-TV or during his interview with IowaPolitics.com.
Not ready for prime time.