Narcisse confirms plans to run for governor

Jonathan Narcisse will file to run for governor as an independent, he confirmed yesterday during campaign stops around the state. Narcisse had supported Terry Branstad during the 1980s and Chet Culver’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign, but now believes neither Branstad nor Culver is “offering solutions.” Earlier this year, Narcisse declared that he would challenge Culver in the Democratic primary, but he did not submit signature petitions before the filing deadline. The hurdle for running as an independent is much lower; candidates need to collect only 1,500 signatures and file nominating papers by August 13.

Narcisse has chosen Rick Marlar as his running mate. Marlar finished third with 12 percent in the Republican primary for Iowa Senate district 45. Rod Boshart reported that Narcisse picked Marlar

because they share the same fervor for reform. Marlar, a truck driver for 30 years and former pilot who logged four years in the submarine service, lives on 40 acres near Wayland and understands rural and farm life, he said. Narcisse said Marlar reminded him of another truck driver in Iowa who was successful in gubernatorial politics, Ida Grove native Harold Hughes, who was elected governor and served in the U.S. Senate during his political career.

If Marlar wants to stand up to the Republican establishment, he’d be better off running as an independent in Senate district 45, where Branstad’s close ally Sandy Greiner won the primary easily with 66 percent of the vote.

Narcisse believes he has a shot if he can get into this fall’s debates between the gubernatorial candidates. His campaign strategy:

“Culver and Branstad are going to wage an unprecedented negative campaign. They’re going to just pound each other to a bloody pulp,” Narcisse predicted. “I believe that by the time they get through hammering each other, on Nov. 2, if Iowans could vote for none of the above that none of the above would beat Branstad and Culver. So my job now is to become ‘None Of The Above Narcisse.’”

I don’t ever remember third-party candidates being invited to the Iowa gubernatorial debates. If the media include Narcisse, they would have to include others such as Libertarian Eric Cooper and Constitution Party candidate Rick Phillips. Narcisse will need to raise much more money to run the 99-county campaign he is planning. His May campaign disclosure report filed showed $3,360 in cash contributions, a $5,135 loan, and $2,945 cash on hand.

Continue Reading...

New Branstad running mate speculation thread

James Q. Lynch of the Cedar Rapids Gazette talked to Terry Branstad yesterday about the qualities he’s looking for in a potential lieutenant governor. If he wins the nomination, Branstad wants a running mate who is younger than he is (63), and also “intelligent, hardworking, conservative, a good communicator and someone who could serve as governor.” He told Lynch that “some Eastern Iowans” are on his list.

Branstad has promised social conservatives that he won’t pick another pro-choice running mate, so that rules out former State Representative Libby Jacobs of West Des Moines. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Branstad choose Rod Roberts, although Lynch’s report says Branstad “downplayed” the possibility that he will pick one of the other gubernatorial candidates.

Any of the 20 state legislators who have endorsed Branstad for governor could be on Branstad’s short list. Or, he may look to someone from the business community, but it’s been months since I heard anyone predict that insurance company executive Doug Reichardt would be Branstad’s choice. Perhaps there’s some truth to the rumors that Reichardt isn’t interested in being lieutenant governor.

If Branstad looks east, one obvious contender is Christian Fong, the well-spoken former candidate for governor from Cedar Rapids. Last month State Representative Renee Schulte endorsed Branstad, and since Schulte’s husband was Fong’s campaign treasurer, I wondered whether some kind of deal was in the works. But Fong hasn’t endorsed any candidate since he dropped out of the race six months ago. Earlier this month he founded the Iowa Dream Project, a “nonpartisan” 501(c)4 organization designed to increase turnout among conservative voters under age 45 and discuss issues in a respectful “Iowa tone.” I doubt Fong would have rolled out this group now if he expected to be running for lieutenant governor full-time during the next six months. It sounds more like a good way for him to stay active, help the Republican cause, and boost his prospects for some appointed position in a Branstad administration.

Another eastern Iowa possibility is former State Representative Sandy Greiner. Choosing her would continue the Iowa tradition of female lieutenant governors during the past two and a half decades. Greiner is an experienced candidate with socially conservative views (even if a few wingnuts gripe about her). She is also well-connected to some major donors in the business community. She is president of the American Future Fund and created the “Draft Branstad PAC” last year. That 527 organization turned into the NextGen PAC after Branstad formed an exploratory committee to run for governor. I don’t think Greiner will be Branstad’s choice, though, because she filed to run for the Iowa Senate in district 45. That race is one of the Republicans’ best pickup opportunities in the upper chamber, and I doubt she would have become a candidate if she expected to be on the ticket with Branstad.

Though no one else has mentioned her name to me, State Representative Linda Miller seems like a promising choice. She has endorsed Branstad and is from Bettendorf, one of the Quad Cities. Republicans used to be dominant in populous Scott County but have lost ground there in recent years.

Some conservative activists have slammed Branstad for elevating Joy Corning to the office of lieutenant governor during the 1990s. Lynch asked Branstad about Corning, and he said she was a good choice “at the time”. He added that he disagrees with some of what Corning has done as a “private citizen.” Several years ago, Corning chaired a major capital campaign for Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa. Last year she publicly supported civil marriage rights for gays and lesbians. Corning backs Branstad’s current campaign and is privately urging fellow moderates to vote for him in the primary.

Bleeding Heartland readers, who do you think is on Branstad’s short list, and whom should he pick as a running mate?

Feel free to speculate about Bob Vander Plaats as well. From what I’ve heard, the consensus is that he would choose his campaign co-chair, retiring State Representative Jodi Tymeson. I consider Vander Plaats a long-shot for the nomination, especially with Rod Roberts splitting the conservative vote. But we haven’t seen any public polls confirming Branstad’s front-runner status. Vander Plaats does have a path to the nomination, and he keeps winning straw polls of Republican activists.  

Continue Reading...
View More...