Jim Nussle, the 2006 G.O.P. nominee for governor, spent over $10 million in his losing battle against Democrat Chet Culver. Culver’s likely to seek reelection in 2010 and a few Republicans are starting to consider the idea of running against Culver and raising that kind of cash for a campaign. State Representative Christopher Rants of Sioux City, the Republican Leader in the Iowa House, is among them.
"Sure, of course you think about it. When you’re sitting in a leadership position you always think about it," Rants says. "But right now all I’m focused on is winning the majority back in 2008 and when that happens then that’ll give me other things to think about but right now it’s just focusing on winning the House back in Republican control in 2008." Rants had been speaker of the Iowa House in 2006 when Republicans lost majority control to Democrats.
Rants contends Culver will be vulnerable in 2010 because he’s governed as a liberal rather than a moderate. "I know Iowans voted for change two years ago, but I don’t think this is the change they expected," Rants says. "Republicans are going to be talking about that a lot this fall. We’re looking forward to another change election and then we’ll see…It’s way too early to really be talking about that."
However Rants, who is an avid golfer, jokes that one reason he’s interested in becoming governor are the perks. "Hey, if you get tickets to the Master’s, why wouldn’t you think about it?" Rants says. Governor Culver went to the Master’s golf tournament this past spring to watch Iowa native Zach Johnson try to defend his title.