Jack Hatch, the only Democrat running for governor, has started interviewing candidates to decide who he’ll choose as a running mate.
“(The) ideal candidate is a person who has experience in the private sector, who has experience in the public sector, who understands and has a strong understanding of constituent needs,” Hatch told reporters this morning. ” We want to make sure the people of this state see me as the CEO of a company that would bring those values in here.”
Hatch, a long-time legislator, is a real estate developer. Iowa’s constitution was changed more than two decades ago, so candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run together as a team, just like the president and vice president.
“Fortunately for Democrats, there are half a dozen people that I would be very happy with,” Hatch said. “Any one of them would be very good for me and for the party and for the state, so we have a big, big kind of net to cast and we’re going to be cautious about doing it.”
Iowa has had a female lieutenant governor since January of 1987. Hatch said while he is “embarrassed” Iowa has not elected a woman as a governor, a U.S. Senator or to congress, he doesn’t feel pressure to choose a woman as a running mate.
“I would hate to think that I would choose that just as a default position,” Hatch said. “I believe that women should and need to ascend to the highest position and I’ve always been committed to that and I continue to be committed to making sure that especially younger women, younger professional woman feel and know that the public sector is a place for them to demonstrate their skills and become a strong candidate for governor or a congressional candidate before the end of my term in office.”
Hatch does say he needs to look outside of his home territory in Des Moines for a running mate.
“I want to choose a running mate that can become governor on day one, at any time,” Hatch said, “and, number two, really supplements and adds to my experience as an elected official and also as a business person.”
Hatch has sought the advice of the past two Democratic governors as well as previous Democratic nominees who went through this process of choosing a running mate.
“The universal response is: ‘This has to be your decision. Don’t make a decision based on the politics of your staff or your supporters or your biggest contributor….You’re lieutenant governor is part of your team. He or she is not in your shadow. They have to have a real role to play,'” Hatch said. “And I’ll be talking about that when we do announce the person.”
Delegates at the Iowa Democratic Party’s convention on June 21 will be asked to ratify Hatch’s decision.
“And we hope to announce, to give the delegates a chance to assess my choice for lieutenant governor,” Hatch said.
The last independently-elected lieutenant governor in Iowa was Jo Ann Zimmerman, who won in 1986 for a job that used to include serving as president of the state senate. The next lieutenant governor was Joy Corning, elected as Terry Branstad’s running mate in 1990 and 1994. Sally Pederson was Tom Vilsack’s lieutenant governor running mate in 1998 and 2002. In 2006, Patty Judge ended her own campaign to be governor and agreed to be Chet Culver’s lieutenant governor. In 2010, Terry Branstad chose Kim Reynolds as his running mate.