Janet Petersen should run in IA-03, not for governor

Democratic State Senator Janet Petersen told reporters today that she is “thinking about” running for governor next year. Petersen was an early endorser of State Representative Tyler Olson, who just dropped out of the governor’s race.

Who would advise Petersen to take this course? All polls taken this year, including two surveys released this week, indicate that Governor Terry Branstad will be extremely difficult to beat in 2014. Meanwhile, an open Congressional seat in central Iowa is almost a once in a lifetime opportunity. IA-03 is very winnable for a Democrat, and without meaning any disrespect to Staci Appel, Petersen has more legislative experience and accomplishments. She would be a stronger Congressional candidate.

Either way, Petersen doesn’t need to give up her Senate seat to run for higher office. After serving six terms in the Iowa House, she was just elected to represent Iowa Senate district 18 in 2012. She won’t be up for re-election until 2016.

Share any relevant thoughts in this thread.

UPDATE: So much for that idea. Senator Petersen responded to my request for comment: “It would be an honor to serve Iowans in Congress, but my family and I don’t want to move to DC.” I understand the decision; she has three young children.

  • Are Petersen and Appel close?

    She may not want to stomp on a friend. Just guessing.

    Notable that Petersen had endorsed Olson over fellow Polk County senator Hatch. She may be able to play the Young And Different card against Branstad that Olson had been playing.

    • politics ain't beanbag

      It’s not stomping on a friend to acknowledge that Petersen is a stronger candidate. Appel didn’t run a great re-election campaign in 2010. IA-03 is competitive but not a lock or even a “lean Democrat” seat like IA-01. We need to nominate the very best candidate.

      And I’m sorry, but “young and different” isn’t going to beat Branstad unless something major happens to change the calculus of the governor’s race.

  • run for Governor

    Polls schmolls…I think Janet should run for Governor.  I think TB is beatable because no one has challenged him.  Janet would be an outstanding Governor.  She’s got the thinking skills and the heart for the job.

    Yes, she could be a great member of Congress, but this state needs a Governor who is a true leader and Janet is that person.

    And I think she can win…screw the polls, it’s December 11 months out and whatever the polls are today, it will be very different on election day 2014.

    • she would be a great governor

      But it’s not just these recent polls, it’s almost all the polls for the last three years. Rarely has Branstad appeared vulnerable on any level. He’s going to have more money than God, and nothing sticks to that guy. For whatever bizarre reason, Iowans don’t hold him accountable for his cronyism and his many bad decisions (like refusing to put up $10 million for passenger rail while gladly handing out $100 million for an out of state company to build a fertilizer plant they would have built anyway).

      • Branstad

        I have to agree with dmd.  Branstad doesn’t appear to be vulnerable.

         People feel the same way about Branstad/Grassley/Latham/Northey.  It is that mainstream conservatism that doesn’t go out of the way to offend people.  They are just happy doing their job.

        I’ll concede that Branstad and Grassley have made plenty of controversial statements and decisions in recent years, but those two have more political capital to spend.  Branstad is more vulnerable than Grassley, but that is because most people who even like Branstad question his work ethic.  Some people made similar claims about  Chet Culver.  

  • Peterson For Governor

    If she gets in, she can win. I don’t care what the polls say today. It’s an eternity until the election. Think of what has happened in the last 48 hours. People may say they like Terry Branstad but they also think he has been Governor long enough. Run Janet Run .  

  • If the rumors about Branstad's health

    are based on substance, it might change the calculus of this race.  Branstad seems to avoid unscripted public appearances.  Can he campaign that way?  

    • he can probably campaign

      however he wants. I know there are rumors, but I have not seen any direct evidence of a serious health problem. It probably would not become a campaign issue unless he had a major lapse at a high-profile moment, such as during a debate.

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