Virginia’s governor has been in Iowa this week and Democrat Mark Warner predicts he’ll return as he contemplates a run for the presidency. Iowa’s Caucuses are the kick-off event of the presidential campaign. “I can honestly say, quoting my colleague Governor Schwarzenegger from California, ‘I’ll be back,'” Warner says. Warner, who is 50 years old, is near the end of his one-year stint as chairman of the National Governors Association and he’ll be back in Iowa in July for the association’s annual meeting in Des Moines. Warner’s first and only term as Virginia’s governor expires at the end of the year. That state’s constitution does not allow a governor to serve more than one term. Warner says he was able to win in Virginia where other Democrats haven’t because he did not ignore rural voters. Warner says it’s a lesson Democrats need to heed for the next presidential election. “The Democratic Party is destined and perhaps doomed to be a minority party if our approach is to continue to only be competitive in 16 states and then hope everything breaks right and we can be competitive in 17 states and somehow eek out a victory,” Warner says. “Even if we’re successful at recapturing the White House, if you cede two-thirds of the country, I think you do a disservice not only to our party but to our whole country.” Warner says a “wide swath” of Americans who are “moderates” are willing to take a look at the Democrat Party, but not if Democrats take the same old approach. “Folks don’t listen to your views on education in a lot of rural America is they feel you’re so foreign from them, if they feel you’re going to start every debate with a litmus test on abortion and guns, if they feel like you’re going to take away their ability to hunt or fish or you somehow you (would) diminish what are key parts of life in rural America,” he says. Warner says he angered a lot of Democrats by saying he would not seek any gun control legislation, but also got a lot of rural Virginians to listen who hadn’t listened to a Democrat in 20 years. Warner says you shouldn’t rule any candidate in or out, but he says governors hold the upper hand when it comes to presenting their record to voters. “Governors actually get measured on what they get done, not simply what positions they take,” Warner says. “Governors are chief executives and are used to being held accountable. That is not necessarily true for members of congress.” Warner and Iowa’s Governor, Tom Vilsack, both express frustration with Democrats who are in Washington, D-C because the two say those Democrats aren’t offering Americans alternatives to what Republicans are offering, but, instead, are simply trying to maintain the “status quo.” You can hear more of Warner’s prescription for his party’s revival on-line at www.radioiowa.com.
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