Former Governor Robert Ray is having heart surgery this morning. Ray was scheduled to speak at a breakfast meeting at Iowa Republican Party headquarters this morning. Instead, he’s having by-pass surgery at a Des Moines hospital. Ray was Iowa’s Governor from 1969 to 1983, and headed one of Iowa’s largest insurance companies before retiring a few years ago. Ray, who is a graduate of Drake University’s law school, also served as an interim president of Drake, and he was a sort of interim mayor of Iowa’s Capitol City after the previous Des Moines mayor died of cancer. Ray was among those considered as President Gerald Ford’s running mate in 1976, and is jokingly referred to as “The Real Governor” by political insiders because of his stately bearing and presence when in a public setting.
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