Gubernatorial candidate Michael Blouin has been endorsed by 18 Democrats who serve in the Iowa Senate, including the Senate leader who announced last month he’d thought about but decided against running for governor himself. Senate Co-Leader Michael Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, endorsed Blouin this (Thursday) morning at a statehouse news conference. “I went through a deliberative process myself considering a race for governor and over the last several weeks I’ve gone through that same deliberative process in terms of deciding who I was going to support for governor,” Gronstal says. “My judgment is based on what I think is best for the future of Iowa.”Gronstal says Blouin is the “best equipped” to move Iowa forward in areas like education, health care and job creation. Some Iowa Democrats who back abortion rights, though, have been reluctant to back Blouin because he is pro-life. Gronstal, who describes himself as pro-choice, says Blouin’s stand on abortion wasn’t a deal breaker. Gronstal says he doesn’t agree with any of the candidates on every single issue. “As a matter of fact, I don’t agree with my wife on every single issue,” Gronstal says. “I think Michael Blouin is the right man to lead us forward in terms of job opportunities for our kids.” “If we’re going to create a state that our children and grandchildren want to live and work in and not just visit, I think he’s the right choice for this job.” Blouin, a former northeast Iowa Congressman, headed the chambers of commerce in Cedar Rapids then Des Moines before becoming the state’s Economic Development director. He resigned from that job in July. Blouin says having legislators back him is a “benchmark” in his campaign just like raising money. Blouin says legislators are “people who are working on the front lines to make this a better state” and getting their endorsement means a lot. Secretary of State Chet Culver, another Democratic candidate, has the endorsements of several key money people in the Democratic party, including Des Moines businessman Bill Knapp and former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell, the 1994 Democratic candidate for governor. State Ag Secretary Patty Judge, State Representative Ed Fallon of Des Moines and Sioux City businessman Sal Mohammad are also seeking the Iowa Democratic party’s 2006 gubernatorial nomination.
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