With the conclusion of the election of 2004, the race for 2006 begins, if it hasn’t already. At least four republicans are considered likely to run for Governor, including Congressman Jim Nussle of Manchester who won re-election Tuesday. Nussle sounded a lot like a gubernatorial candidate on Monday when he spoke at a Bush rally in Des Moines. “We want Iowa to be the best,” Nusssle said. “We want Iowa to be the best place to live, the best place to learn, the best place to work, the best place to play and the best place to retire and we need leaders who are going to stand with Iowa and make that a reality.” Nussle took a few shots at democrat Governor Tom Vilsack. “How do you make Iowa the best? Do you make Iowa the best by raising Iowa taxes,” Nussle asked, and the crowd responded “No.” “That’s what the Governor did this year. He wanted to raise Iowa taxes.” And Nussle said there’s only one reason Iowa taxes didn’t go up — the republican legislature refused to go along with Vilsack. Nussle also accused Vilsack, who is a lawyer, of standing in the way of legal reform and efforts to reduce government regulation. Nussle will likely be challenged for the republican nomination for governor in 2006 by at least three other men. Doug Gross, the Des Moines lawyer who ran in 2002, is preparing a second bid for the governorship, Jeff Lamberti, a lawyer from Ankeny who is President of the State Senate, and State Representative Danny Carroll of Grinnell are all laying the groundwork for campaigns. So is Bob Vander Plaats of Sioux City, who ran two years ago and lost in the republicam primary. On the democratic side, Governor Vilsack is being encouraged to reconsider his self-imposed two-term limit and run again. Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver, another demcrat who’s considering a run for governor, says “a lot of new races will be starting in January.” “I’m also very exicted about the future of our state, I care passionately about Iowa. I’ve got two young kids, my family came here in the late 1800s, and I want to be a part of our leadership for the future.” He says he’s not sure if that means staying Secretary of State or moving on in 2006. Culver, the son of former U.S. Senator John Culver, says he wants to stay in politics. “I love public service and I’m looking forward to the future,” Culver says. “I want to continue to get things done for the people of Iowa. Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson, a democrat from Des Moines, is also considering running for governor in 2006 as is Senate Democrat Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs, Department of Economic Development director Michael Blouin, and Attorney General Tom Miller. Blouin is a former Congressman. Miller ran for governor once before, in a democratic party primary 1992, and he lost the nomination to Don Avenson. State Representative Ed Fallon of Des Moines has been actively campaigning for governor for the past year and a half.
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