About 100 Republican activists crowded into a former furniture store in Newton to hear two southern governors tout Terry Branstad’s bid for a fifth term as governor of Iowa.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour told the crowd Branstad’s record over four previous terms as governor was a campaign asset.
“His good record compared to the record of today’s governor, but don’t forget this election will largely be a referendum on the policies of the Obama Administration and the Reid/Pelosi congress and we need people to understand these policies have failed us and we have to make a change,” Barbour said during the Newton rally. “That’s why the stakes are so high. That’s why we’re here.”
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal warned the crowd about celebrating Branstad’s victory before the votes are counted.
“I know he’s ahead in the polls and I know many papers are already saying this race is already done, but the reality is this: elections aren’t won by polls; they’re not won by fundraising; they’re not won by political TV ads,” Jindal said. “…It is so important that everybody gets out and votes and tells their neighbors and friends and family members to vote.”
Jindal also joked with the crowd about campaign tactics.
“One of the things I always tell people and (Branstad) may not like this, being a former governor, but it’s o.k. Go ahead and get some bumper stickers. Put them on your neighbors’ cars when they’re not looking. It’s all right,” Jindal said, as the crowd laughed and clapped. “You’ve got less than a week. They probably won’t figure it out between now and then. What’s the worst thing that could happen? They’re probably voting for him anyway.”
Branstad also warned his fellow Republicans against complacency.
“Now this is not my first rodeo,” Branstad said, as a few people in the crowd laughed. “This is not my first election. This is the 12th election that I’ve been in and we’ve never lost because we have never stopped campaigning until the votes are counted and that’s what we’ve got to do this year.”
The prospect of the next election, though, was a topic that greeted Misssissippi’s governor when he entered the room as an Iowan told Barbour he wanted to talk with him about Barbour’s interest in running for president.
“Let’s get through this election first,” Barbour replied. “This is the one that counts.”
This was Jindal’s second visit to Iowa, but Jindal has said he’s not interested in running for president and Jindal told a reporter he wouldn’t be back to Iowa in 2011 to campaign for the Iowa Caucuses.
“I’ll be running for reelection in Louisiana and so I’ll be busy back home next year,” Jindal said. “I’m sure there’ll be many great candidates running for (president) next year and I think that’s a great thing. I’ll be back home in Louisiana.”
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a likely GOP presidential candidate for 2012, is due in the state later this week and Texas Congressman Ron Paul — a 2008 presidential candidate — will be in the state tomorrow campaigning for Iowa Republicans. Other potential 2012 candidates like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum have been in the state this past week, helping Republican candidates here.
Listen to Barbour’s and Jindal’s speeches: BarbourJindal
Earlier today Democratic Governor Chet Culver dismissed the barrage of out-of-state GOP luminaries, saying it would have “zero” impact on his race with Branstad.