Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is taking the formal steps necessary to run for president. Today (Thursday), Vilsack is filing documents with the Federal Election Commission, establishing the “Tom Vilsack for President” campaign committeed.

On November 30th, Vilsack plans to officially kick off his bid to become America’s next president with an “announcement” speech in Mount Pleasant. Vilsack will then go to New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Those are states which host some of the leading events in the presidential nominating season. He’ll stop in Pennsylvania, too. That’s where he was born and raised.

Iowa, with its Caucuses, hosts the leadoff event in the presidential campaign and in June Vilsack finished a distant fourth in a Des Moines Register Iowa Poll gauging early support in the 2008 presidential sweepstakes. During a trip to New Hampshire in June, Vilsack told Radio Iowa that poll wasn’t a surprise. “I don’t know why anybody expected that to be any different than it was,” Vilsack said. “I haven’t spent millions of dollars. I haven’t asked anybody for a vote. I haven’t even told them I’m running for president.”

Now, five months later, Vilsack is in the final weeks of his two-terms as Iowa’s governor — five months in which it has become more clear to Iowans that Vilsack is, indeed, running for president. This September, during his annual week of walking from one small Iowa town to another, Iowans seemed ready make the switch from Vilsack as governor to Vilsack as presidential candidate. Most of the questions from Iowans who attended his town hall meetings were focused on federal issues, for example.

Blaine Nickles of Clarion, Iowa, isn’t quite sure Vilsack’s presidential material, though. “He’s knowledgeable and he’s concerned about the economic development in the state and in the country so he could really fool me, you know, because he’s a got a lot of confidence and he has the ability to understand what’s happening in our country so I may be wrong on that,” Nickles says. “He may be a good candidate.”

Vilsack for the past couple of months has been traveling Iowa, bragging about how the “landscape” of Iowa has changed during his eight years as governor, and taking partial credit for an economic transformation in the . Vilsack’s “Vision Iowa” state economic development grants helped build huge community attractions in cities around the state, and he boasts of the wind turbines and ethanol and biodiesel plants that are going up. “What’s taking course in the past several years in our state is we’re beginning to understand the tremendous potential we have,” Vilsack says repeatedly. Vilsack’s taking that message of an Iowa economic miracle and his role in creating it, across the country.

In terms of his position within the Democratic party, Vilsack has served as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and head of the Democratic Leadership Council, a group that helped Bill Clinton win the White House in 1992. Vilsack was along on the list of Democrats 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry considered as a running mate. For more about Vilsack’s campaign, log onto Click on the link below to listen to more about Vilsack.

Related web sites:
Radio Iowa 2004 series: Vilsack, the man, the politician