Iowa’s Republican governor may be closer to seeking a sixth term than you might think.
It was nearly two years ago when Terry Branstad ended his 12-year hiatus from politics and won re-election to a fifth term as governor.
“The harder you work, the luckier you get,” Branstad said on November 2, 2010. “Tonight, I feel like the luckiest guy on the face of the Earth.”
At the end of his present term, Branstad will tie the national record for longest-serving governor in U.S. history. If he seeks term number six and wins, Branstad would become number one in the record books. Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds are holding a fundraiser tonight and the money isn’t going to 2012 candidates.
“The money will go to our campaign committee,” Branstad said Monday.
When pressed by a Radio Iowa reporter about running for a sixth term, Branstad responded: “Let’s just say we’re keeping our options open.”
As others in the room for the governor’s weekly news conference laughed, Reynolds added: “That’s right.”
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is the main draw for tonight’s event.
“You may recall, back before the recall election in Wisconsin, we held a fundraiser in Dubuque for Governor Scott Walker and I was delighted with the response that we received,” Branstad said, “and Governor Walker has offered to reciprocate and support the lieutenant governor and I with this event.”
Tickets to the event are $100, but others are paying up to $5000 each to be listed as “sponsors” of the event.
Steve and Sally Gray are hosting the fundraiser in their Cedar Rapids home. Gray is trying to round up a group of investors for a casino in Linn County. Branstad describes Gray as a “long-time friend.”
“I’ve known him from his business experience in Cedar Rapids and with regard to the gambling license issue, I think that’s an issue to be resolved by the Racing and Gaming Commission,” Branstad said. “It’s always been my position not to take a position on those things.”
Gary Kirke, a major investor in the state-licensed Wild Rose Casinos in Emmetsburg and Clinton, is listed as a member of the host committee for tonight’s event. Branstad told reporters he “does not expect” gambling issues to be raised during tonight’s 90-minute event.
“First of all, this is really an opportunity for us to spend some time with a great friend, Scott Walker, who has shown great courage and has made a real difference in his state of Wisconsin,” Branstad said. “He inherited an even bigger financial mess than we did and he’s made great progress in turning that around, as we have.”
The timing of tonight’s fundraiser overlaps with the presidential debate, as well as a televised debate featuring the two candidates in Iowa’s second congressional district.