Four Republicans who may run for governor in 2010 outlined some of their prescriptions for reviving the G.O.P. brand this weekend.
Bob Vander Plaats, a Sioux City business consultant, said Republicans have to stop being known as "the party of no" and address some of the concerns that recently have been raised about the G.O.P.
"Republicans need to be trusted," Vander Plaats said. "…If we campaign on family values, we’d better walk-the-walk of family values."
Representative Christopher Rants of Sioux City said if Republicans are to be successful in 2010, they must address voters’ number one issue of concern: the economy.
"We ought to set as a goal for this state that Iowa becomes one of the top 10 states in the nation to operate a business," Rants said.
Representative Rod Roberts of Carroll listed "friendly, approachable…and willing to work with others" as key traits for the party’s next nominee for governor.
"We can put a Republican back in the governor’s office, but we need to be as thoughtful and considerate about the messenger who carries our message as the message itself," Roberts said.
Senator Jerry Behn of Boone suggested Republicans need to talk about the gay marriage issue and urge voters to vote "no" on retention elections for judges who have issued pro-gay marriage rulings.
"We can reign in the judges by simply kicking them out of office," Behn said.
The four men spoke Saturday morning to nearly 70 northwest Iowa Republicans who gathered in Sac City for a party fundraiser.
Joan Luchtel and Mickie Champion, both of Lake View, thought Vander Plaats was the strongest speaker of the group, but they’re not yet ready to choose a candidate.
The women said there is "wiggle room" since the party primary won’t be held ’til June of next year. "Things change," the two said.
Don Nehman of Lytton isn’t ready to choose a candidate either. "I’m not going to decide right away," he says.
Reverend Brian Krause of Sac City was the event’s emcee. "I don’t have a horse in the race yet, but I saw some guys connecting with people," Krause says.
The four potential candidates who were in Sac City on Saturday have agreed to appear, together, at another forum scheduled in late July in Des Moines.