Five Democrats who are thinking about running for governor in 2006 were in Nevada on Saturday night to speak to about 150 Story County Democrats. Each was given eight minutes to speak. Iowa Department of Economic Development director Michael Blouin, a former Congressman, was the first to speak and was the only one of the five to meet that eight-minute deadline. “I’m amazed one year and three days before a primary this many people would be willing to show up and listen to five folks, only one of whom has actually announced for this job,” Blouin said. “To me, it’s an incredible sign of interest in the future of this state.” Blouin says he’ll decide over the next few weeks to say “yes” or “no” to a run for governor. Secretary of State Chet Culver is much closer to saying “yes.” He’s formed an “exploratory committee” — a prelude to a formal announcement that he’s campaigning for governor. “I’m here tonight to talk about a little bit about my background. I’m here to talk about my experiences over nearly 20 years here in Iowa working in various positions.” Culver said. “I want to talk about the future of our state and the future of our party.” State Representative Ed Fallon of Des Moines is the only one of the five to have officially declared himself a candidate for governor. “I know we all worked hard for John Kerry last fall, as did I, and again (it was) disappointing, but we need to move on,” Fallon said. “I think it’s really important that we, at this point, analyze our party and do some critical thinking,” Fallon said. Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge, a former state senator, told the crowd she had been doing some thinking herself. “People have said to me over and over ‘Are you really serious about running for governor or is this just something you’re doing for the summer for fun?’ So let me answer you that very clearly. Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m in,” Judge said. “I believe it’s time for an aggressive, bold agenda led by a grandma.” State Senator Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs also spoke, but did not talk about his own aspirations for running for higher office. Gronstal, the Co-Leader of the state Senate, focused on the accomplishments of the 2005 Legislative session.
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