The leaders of Iowa’s two major political parties are scrambling to round-out the statewide general election ballot. As it stands today, there are no Republican opponents for two Democrats who are long-time office-holders, but Republican Party of Iowa chairman Ray Hoffmann is trying to recruit people to run against Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald.
“We’ve definitely been working on that for months, actually,” Hoffmann says. “Got some great possibilities (but) right this minute no 100 percent committments so we’ve got to wait just a bit longer.” Hoffmann says Republicans don’t want to give the two Democrats who’ve held statewide office for a combined total of 48 years a free pass in the November election.
“They’ve been there for a very, very long time,” Hoffmann says. “It’s time to change the guard there.” Miller has served as Iowa’s Attorney General for 24 years and Fitzgerald was first elected State Treasurer in 1982. Hoffmann suggests the party won’t just put anybody on the ballot. “Unless I get somebody that’s really a key person, somebody that’s in a top tier as a candidate, we’re not going to just waste our time either, you know,” Hoffmann says.
Meanwhile, Democrats are also searching for a candidate to run against State Auditor Dave Vaudt, a Republican who is seeking a second term in that office. Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson, the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, is leading the search. “We’re talking to people with business backgrounds, with legal/accounting backgrounds, people who are interested in accountable government,” Pederson says. Like Hoffman, she isn’t willing to discuss names either. “It wouldn’t be fair at this name to be sharing names, but we hope to have a name by Saturday of convention,” Pederson says.
Both parties are holding their state conventions in Des Moines on Saturday, June 17th. Nominees to fill those open spots on the statewide ticket would have to be ratified by convention delegates.
Miller and Fitzgerald have both served 24 years in office — but Miller has not done those years consecutively. Miller was first elected in 1978, but took four years off from 1991-1994 to work in private practice. That’s when Bonnie Campbell served one term as Iowa Attorney General.