Democratic candidate Chet Culver says he personally believes the death penalty should be an option for criminals who murder children or officers of the law, but Culver says he won’t make reinstating capital punishment in Iowa a “priority” is he’s elected governor.
“I’m not running for governor to reinstate the death penalty,” Culver says. “I do believe, personally, that the death pealty is warranted in limited situations involving the most heinous crimes.”
Culver says the death penalty should be an option in cases which involve the kidnapping and murder of a child, the murder of a cop or prison guard, or a terrorist strike. In addition, Culver would require DNA evidence to link the convict to the crime before he’d allow that person to be put to death. “I’m running to be the first state in the nation to declare our indepence from foreign oil and I’m running to build on our strengths in education, agricultre and manufacturing to create good jobs, so those are the reasons that compel me to run, not to reinstate the death penalty,” Culver says. “But I do hae a position on this issue.”
Mike Blouin, one of Culver’s rivals for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, says Culver last year called for reinstating capital punishment, and these latest statements are a reversal. “It goes to integrity. He’s changed on so many issues back and forth. He issued a release last May saying he was in favor of reinstating the death penalty. He just went out there an hour ago and said he never called for reinstating the death penalty. Yes, he did. It’s part of your past Chet, don’t run from it,” Blouin says. “If you’ve changed again, that’s fine. Just say so.”
Blouin says Culver could be confronted with the issue quickly if he’s elected governor. “If there’s a Republican majority in both Houses he’ll have a death penalty bill on his desk within weeks and he’s going to have to make a decision,” Blouin says. “What will he sign?”
Blouin opposes executions and says the state of Iowa imposes a “death penalty” of sorts with the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. “You’re going to die there. It’s correctible,” Blouin says. “If you’re wrong, you don’t have to dig up a coffin and say ‘Gee, I’m sorry.'”
Ed Fallon, the other leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate, also opposes capital punishment.