Four Republican men who may run for governor offered an audience in northwest Iowa a sneak peak of the coming campaign this weekend.
The four were the featured speakers at a Sac County G.O.P. breakfast in Sac City on Saturday. Each offered their own critique of current Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat who intends to seek reelection in 2010.
Bob Vander Plaats of Sioux City, a business consultant, argued Culver’s greatest weakness is on the issue of gay marriage.
"Do you believe that Chet Culver believes in one-man/one-woman marriage? He says he does," Vander Plaats said. "…But as soon as the Supreme Court made their opinion, he washed his hand like Pontius Pilate and walked away from the issue."
Representative Christopher Rants of Sioux City, the former speaker of the Iowa House, argued voters are most concerned right now about the economy.
"We have a governor that hasn’t paid much attention to economic development," Rants said. "We’ve got a governor right now that, quite frankly, has been pursuing job-killing initiatives."
Senator Jerry Behn of Boone argued Culver’s Achilles Heel is a precarious state budget. "He blames it on a national recession and an Iowa recession," Behn said. "…It’s not your fault. You are paying enough money in taxes."
Representative Rod Roberts of Carroll suggested Republicans may have an opening against any Democrat, including Culver, because of the mood of the country.
"There is anxiety about the economy, about jobs, and for some people there is anger about what’s going on," Roberts said. "…I can detect that people are very interested in a change in direction."
The chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party issued a statement, accusing the four Republicans of "juvenile name-calling" and defending Culver’s job creation efforts.