Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley suggests there’s more than one potential G.O.P. candidate for governor who may jump into the race.
Former Governor Terry Branstad is considering the idea of running for a fifth term in 2010, but McKinley says he will continue to "aggressively explore" the idea of running for governor. "Until it no longer seems fruitful to do so," McKinley says. "You know, there are rumors of other folks getting into the race and if that occurs, I will reevaluate at that time."
There have been numerous forums featuring the current field of G.O.P. gubernatorial candidates and while five candidates have made it to most of those events, McKinley has not attended any. The Republican Party of Iowa is trying to coordinate the schedule of future candidate forums, acccording to McKinley, and McKinley says he’s had "honest, legitimate conflicts" on each previous occasion.
"Frankly, I’ve been doing the duties of the senate Republican leader: recruiting, trying to raise funds for Republicans and getting the Republican message out," McKinley says.
The prospect of a Branstad candidacy has "frozen the field," according to McKinley. "I’ve been out doing the senate thing and I can tell you raising money in this environment is very tough. I suspect even the governor is finding that it’s tough to raise money," McKinley says. "Traditional Republican donors — small businessmen, commercial folks — they’ve taken a pretty good haircut with everything going on in the United States, the spectre of increased taxes and business going down. It’s a pretty tough environment."
McKinley predicts a "pretty fiesty" primary campaign among the Republicans who do run for governor in 2010, whether or not he’s part of that field.