Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats will not run as an independent candidate governor. Instead, Vander Plaats is launching a new effort in the battle over gay marriage in Iowa, a campaign aimed at the Iowa Supreme Court.
Vander Plaats has run three times for governor — in 2002, 2006 and 2010. In this past June’s Republican Primary, Vander Plaats got 42% of the vote, finishing second.Vander Plaats had promised that if he were elected governor, he’d issue an executive order that would stop gay marriage in Iowa until voters could decide on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage here.
In April of 2009 the seven-member state Supreme Court issued a ruling which paved the way for gay marriage in Iowa. This morning Vander Plaats held a news conference outside the Iowa Judicial Building. Vander Plaats announced he will lead an effort to defeat the three state supreme court justices who are on this November’s ballot in a retention election. “More than ever we need to hold this court in check,” Vander Plaats said. “And that is what our plan is to do.”
Vander Plaats said he’ll release more details about the effort next, including information about fundraising. Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus is one of the three justices who are up for retention in November. The justice who wrote the gay marriage ruling is not.
Vander Plaats said he made up his mind to launch the campaign against the three justices when the California judge ruled California’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. “I will be going into intense strategy sessions with the best and the brightest from around this state and around the country,” Vander Plaats said. “And we will be unleashing a full effort and campaign in the next coming days.”
Vander Plaats also announced this morning that he will not run as an independent candidate for governor. Vander Plaats has said he would only run if he determined he could win. “I had no interest in being a spoiler in that campaign,” Vander Plaats said.
Vander Plaats was asked by a reporter if or when he might endorse Terry Branstad, the Republican candidate for governor. Vander Plaats said he had no “timeframe” for making an endorsement.
Listen to Vander Plaats’ news conference: capbvpretention
Read more reaction to this story from Branstad, Governor Chet, One Iowa and more.
(This story was updated at 11:27 a.m. and again at 11:56 a.m.)