Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats officially ended his campaign this morning and endorsed rival Jim Nussle. Nussle, in turn, named Vander Plaats his Lieutenant Governor/runningmate. Vander Plaats says their partnership unites east and west since he is from Sioux City and has a base of support there while Nussle has campaigned all over eastern Iowa while running for congress.
Nussle says “unifying” with Vander Plaats now lets Republicans focus on other races for statewide offices, the legislature and courthouse jobs around the state. “We believe with this kind of unity that we have up and down the ticket we now can be much more successful with the almost three-month jump that we’ll have on the Democrats,” Nussle says. “That’s something we want to use to our advantage.”
Nussle says Vander Plaats has been a “dogged” campaigner as he ran for governor in 2002 and again this time around. “Having somebody who has that kind of tenacity on behalf of not only the ticket but on behalf of the state is very important,” Nussle says. Iowa’s constitution was changed so that in 1992, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor began running together as a team in the same way the president and vice president run together.
Every major party candidate of the past has picked a “gender balanced” ticket, meaning one of the candidates was a man, the other a woman. The Nussle/Vander Plaats ticket breaks with that tradition. Nussle told reporters,”I don’t think anyone should pick a candidate for any office based solely on gender,” Nussle says. “I think it should be based on the best qualifications of the persons you have to choose from and Bob Vander Plaats fills that bill.”
Vander Plaats says he and Nussle are united because of the “cause” of getting a Republican elected the next governor of Iowa. “It also required leadership that puts personal agendas and petting politics aside, checks ’em at the door,” Vander Plaats says. Vander Plaats says dropping out of the race and joining Nussle on the ticket is the “right thing to do.”
Vander Plaats says their new partnership unites east and west since he is from Sioux City and has a base of support there while Nussle has campaigned all over eastern Iowa while running for congress.”Unity that brings political experience together with private sector experience. Unity that brings urban and rural together,” Vander Plaats says. “When you bring people together you can accomplish immeasurable things.” Vander Plaats, a business consultant, is a former high school teacher and coach who has also run a day care center from disabled kids.
During a joint appearance this morning in Des Moines, Nussle praised the speaking skills of his former rival. “I’ve just said to Bob I’ve had to follow him on the campaign trail a lot this year as you might imagine and I really like that new speech,” Nussle said, laughing.
Here are the governor/lieutenant governor tickets of the past: Republican Governor Terry Branstad and Joy Corning in 1992 and 1996; Democrats Don Avenson and Jo Ann Zimmerman in 1992; Democrats Bonnie Campbell and Leonard Boswell in 1996; Republicans Jim Lightfoot and Almo Hawkins in 2000; Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack and Sally Pederson in 1998 and 2002; Republicans Doug Gross and Debi Durham in 2002.