The top republican in the legislature says even if democratic presidential candidate John Kerry wins Iowa, Iowa republicans can win in down-the-ballot contests. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says the Bush/Kerry match-up is “very polarizing.”Rants says “republicans are very excited about having the president run for reelection and the strength he brings to the ticket,” while “democrats are frothing at the mouth” to go after Bush. Rants says it’ll be a long campaign season, but he’s not worried. Rants says “Iowans are notorious ticket-splitters.” He says Iowans have twice elected democrat Tom Vilsack as Governor, while electing republicans to lead the legislature. And before that, republican Governor Terry Branstad always faced legislatures controlled by democrats. Even if Kerry were to win Iowa convincingly, Rants points to 1996, when democrat President Bill Clinton won reelection and republicans gained more seats in the House and Senate.
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