Iowa Democrats have had an historic night. Not only did Democrat Chet Culver win the governor’s race, but Democrats have won a majority of seats in both the Iowa House and Iowa Senate. “You know, I used to teach history at Hoover High School here in Des Moines,” Culver told supporters gathered last in the Hotel Fort Des Moines. “Well, tonight — with your help, we’ve made history here in Iowa….This is truly an amazing night.”
Culver said Iowans have spoken “loudly and clearly.”
“I pledge to be to be true to our Iowa values to meet our many challenges by applying a little common sense, every day, as your governor,” Culver said.
Culver thanked his father, former Iowa Congressman and Senator John Culver, but Culver began his speech by thanking his Republican foe. “Let me first say a word about my worthy opponent. Congressman Nussle, you ran a hard-fought campaign. You have served our state well and I personally want to thank you and your wife, Karen, for your service,” Culver said. “I wish you the best in the future.”
As the song “Takin’ Care of Business” faded in the Hotel Savery ballroom, Republican Jim Nussle conceded defeat. “This is quite a year. I have to say that, having watched the returns coming in across the country, I think the verdict is in and people want some change. There’s no question about that,” Nussle said.
Nussle has spent the past 16 years in Congress and since 2001 he’s been the chairman of the House Budget Committee. Nussle conceeded that he had “run against Washington” in the past, but lamented the low public approval rating for the current congress. “Regardless of what some of the polls and pundits and for that matter even some of the people are saying today, being in public service is a noble profession,” Nussle said. “Representing our state in congress is a noble profession.”
Nussle told his supporters he’d wished Culver “god-speed.”
“He has a lot of work to do and we need to help him,” Nussle said. “We all need to help him in order to get this state moving in the right direction.”
Nussle thanked Bob Vander Plaats, who abandoned his own bid for governor this past spring to run as Nussle’s Lieutenant Governor/running mate. “Even though we wanted to have a new title to add to our arsenal, I can tell you the most titles for both of us are husband and dad and friend and we have a lot of friends out here today,” Nussle said. “We really appreciate everything that you’ve done for us.”