Sioux City business consultant Bob Vander Plaats today (Wednesday) formally kicked off his second bid to become Iowa’s governor. He’s running this time around with the backing of a former foe. Steve Sukup of Sheffield ran against Vander Plaats in the republican gubernatorial primary in 2002. Sukup and Vander Plaats got 64 percent of the vote and won over half of Iowa’s 99 counties. This time around, Sukup says Vander Plaats offers a better choice than other republican candidates like Congressman Jim Nussle and 2002 republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Gross. “With his leadership style of bringing folks together, he’s not going to be bringing the baggage of confrontation with him,” Sukup says. “He’s going to be able to take a fresh look at state government and bring in some of those new answers that we’re desperately needing here in Iowa.” Vander Plaats says he’s be a “turn-around C-E-O” for state government. “This is my promise to you as I commence my run for governor. We will not play shell games. We believe Iowans want direct talk,” Vander Plaats. “But I’m also going to focus my message on being positive…I want to give Iowans something to vote for, not something to vote against.” Vander Plaats says his third-place finish in the 2002 republican gubernatorial primary wasn’t really a loss, but merely “half-time” in his quest to become Iowa’s governor. “We met so many friends in 2002 and it was a great run and to come up 1500 votes short from going to state convention,” Vander Plaats says. “We felt like we had a lot of momentum.” Vander PLaats says Sukup’s endorsement is significant and helps him form a stronger statewide network of support. “I liken that to International Harvestor joining John Deere and saying ‘We’ll back and support you,'” Vander Plaats says. Vander Plaats has assembled what he refers to as a campaign “cabinent” to help plot his campaign course, and a top executive at Wells Blue Bunny dairy is among those helping the effort. Richard Johnson served as State Auditor for 24 years and he has also endorsed Vander Plaats bid for 2006. Johnson backed Vander Plaats first run in 2002. Johnson says he feels strongly about fiscal responsibility in government, and Johnson says Vander Plaats would set the right fiscal tone for state government. Vander Plaats is a former teacher, coach and principal who left education to run an agency in Sioux City that provides rehab services to disabled kids.
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