Republicans say if Iowans elect a Republican legislature and a Republican Governor, they’ll seek a state death penalty. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says legislative candidates are being asked about the issue. Rants says Iowans don’t feel safe anymore and they’ve had it. Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack opposes the death penalty, and Rants says Republicans who’ve controlled the legislature’s agenda decided not to push the issue the past two years.Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows believes a majority of Iowans support the death penalty. He says in light of a lot of things that’ve happened, there’s strong public sentiment.Iverson, though, doesn’t know how all the Republican candidates for the legislature stand on the issue, and can’t predict it would pass if the G-O-P gets control of both the House and Senate. He says the death penalty won’t be top-tier priority for him in the upcoming legislative session. He says the major issue that will drive the session is the economy, and the death penalty won’t be a leading issue.House Democrat Leader Dick Myers of Iowa City is quick to criticize today’s announcement. Myers labels it “an act of political desperation.” Myers says the subject should be “the economy, stupid,” and “people’s jobs.” Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal says the only time Republicans talk about action on the death penalty is in October of an election year, as they’ve failed to get a death penalty bill through both the House and Senate in the past six years when Republicans have controlled the Legislature — including four years when Terry Branstad was Governor and would have signed a death penalty into law.
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