A Des Moines Register “Iowa Poll” has found 48 percent of Iowans surveyed think it’s a good idea for former Governor Terry Branstad to run for a fifth term.

Branstad, a Republican, served as governor from January of 1983 to January of 1999.  Matt Strawn, the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, has been telling audiences his party must appeal to younger voters.  Strawn, however, says he’s not concerned with the prospect of having 62-year-old Branstad seek a fifth term as governor in the same year 76-year-old Chuck Grassley is seeking a sixth term as U.S. Senator.  

“It’s the ideas they talk about.  It’s sharing a vision for the future of this state.  I don’t think you ascribe a person’s age and say that means their ideas are old,” Strawn says. “I mean, everybody’s going to have to share their vision for where they want to take this state that runs for governor.” 

A half dozen other Republicans candidates have been appearing at candidate forums since July, outlining what they would do if elected governor.  Strawn says Branstad’s period of contemplation has not “frozen” the field — or the party. 

“While our candidates are out there building their individual networks for their primary campaign, it’s my job at the Republican party to build the network that they can plug into when we have a nominee that first Wednesday in June,” Strawn says.  “That’s what we’re doing when I talk about rebuilding the party precinct by precinct and county by county, it’s all in preparation for the 2010 gubernatorial fight and the local legislative races that will determine control of the legislature.”

The Des Moines Register’s poll on the gubernatorial race was conducted last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  It showed Branstad’s approval rating today stands at about 60 percent compared to the 50 percent approval rating for current Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat who intends to seek reelection in 2010.  The poll found 48 percent of all the Iowans surveyed by the Register thought it was a good idea for Branstad to run again.  While about one-quarter of those who identified themselves as Republicans said they did not want to see Branstad run again, 60 percent of the Republicans surveyed said they did want him to run.  Strawn would not speculate on Branstad’s flirtation with a fifth term.

“That’s for Republican primary voters to decide if the governor ultimately decides to get in the race,” Strawn says.  Strawn made his comments on this past weekend’s “Iowa Press” program on Iowa Public Television.