April 23, 2014

“Draft Branstad” disbands, reforms as “NextGen PAC”

The “Draft Branstad” group that’s been pushing to get former Governor Terry Branstad to seek a fifth term in 2010 has morphed into something else. 

The group was formed under laws which prohibit it from contributing to or advocating on behalf of a single candidate, but recent developments in the race make it clear Branstad is considered a candidate in the eyes of regulators. Branstad’s name and address are listed on the “Terry Branstad 2010 Committee” paperwork filed last week with the Iowa Ethics Board, for example, and a campaign manager has been hired. “Draft Branstad” spokeswoman Sandy Greiner of Keota says her group has undergone a name change and has a new focus.

“We had so much enthusiasm from young people that we decided to change our name to ‘NextGen’ which of course means ‘Next Generation,’” Greiner says. “So we’ll move forward and work on things to improve Iowa because that seems to be what the young people are interested in which is nice because it’s the same thing we adults and other people are interested in.” 

Officials with the Iowa Democratic Party complained about the “Draft Branstad” group, charging it was violating the law by maintaining its website, which was still accessible Tuesday afternoon. Greiner posted a 10-sentence statement on the website, saying changes were forthcoming.

“Looking forward to just moving on,” Greiner said in a telephone interview with Radio Iowa. 

According to Greiner, the “NextGen” group will not be connected to Branstad’s campaign. ”It won’t be,” Greiner said. “It’s more just moving forward and capitalizing on all of the enthusiasm we had from the young people during the ‘Draft Branstad’ effort.” 

Greiner’s “Draft Branstad” group held an event at a West Des Moines bar late last week, handing out both free drinks and Branstad-boosting materials according to the Iowa Democratic Party.  Greiner says the only campaign materials which were distributed were for another Republican candidate, Dave Funk, who is running for congress. 

“Draft Branstad” was a so-called “527″ group which operates under different rules than do political action committees.  The new “NextGen” group will be a PAC.