The number two person in state government today revealed she will not seek the top job. Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson says she will not run for governor in 2006. Pederson, a democrat, made her decision public today in an interview with Radio Iowa. “I think it’s important to get that decision out there early so others who are interested will throw their hats in the ring,” Pederson said. Governor Tom Vilsack has said he will not seek a third term as governor, opening the field to other democrats like Pederson to enter the race. Pederson said she gave “careful consideration” to running. “I believe that it’s a committment that you have to feel, really, from your heart,” Pederson said. “You have to be willing to put 100 percent of your heart and soul into a race because when you run…you have to have hundreds and thousands of people who are willing to work for you and you can’t ask them to give themselves a hundred percent if your heart and soul doesn’t reside in that decision.” Two years remain before Pederson’s term as Lieutenant Governor expires, and she said she’s “going to give it everything I’ve got.” While she doesn’t rule out seeking some other elected office, Pederson said she’s got other priorities.
“I have a lot of other things that are pulling at me in my life. I think there are many ways that I can make a contribution and make a difference,” she said. Pederson didn’t share a specific list of “other things” she wants to do after her term is over. Pederson said she doesn’t have a specific list of other things she wants to do after her term as Lieutenant Governor is over. “The job of governing this state is not something that you can do and have time left over for anything else,” she said. “I believe there are other ways to make contributions and make a difference that don’t require quite that degree of intensity.” Pederson realizes her decision disappoints her supporters, particularly other women, who’ve urged her to run. But Pederson points out that earlier in life she left a career in publishing to become a full-time mother. “I’ve never regretted it and in fact I wouldn’t be in this job today had I stayed at Meredith. I’d probably have continued a career there and you wouldn’t be talking to me,” Pederson told Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson. “There are always forks in the road and you can’t take both paths. Certainly, most of us would like to like to — we’d like to live two lives — but you have to choose which road to go down.” Pederson said she’s “quite comfortable” she’s made the right decision. Pederson doesn’t expect to back a 2008 gubernatorial candidate in the democratic primary. Some of those considering a bid for governor include Secretary of State Chet Culver, Attorney General Tom Miller, Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal, and Department of Economic Development director Michael Blouin, a former Congressman who said earlier this year he would not run if Pederson did. On the republican side, Congressman Jim Nussle, Senate President Jeff Lamberti, House Spaker Christopher Rants, State Representative Danny Carroll, and two candidates who ran in 2002 — Doug Gross and Bob Vander Plaats — are considering their own bids for Iowa’s governorship.