Governor Culver acknowledges this is shaping up to be an uncomfortable year for incumbents.
Culver announced this week that as of January 1, he had over two-and-a-half million dollars on hand to help bankroll his 2010 reelection campaign. During an appearance last night on Iowa Public Television, Culver talked about the current political climate.
“I am doing everything I can every day to keep Iowa moving forward. I’m making tough decisions under very difficult times,” Culver said. “I think the fact of the matter is no incumbent in America right now for any office is probably very well liked. We saw that with the city elections across this state in November, but this is not a popularity contest. This is about making tough decisions, making good decisions under very difficult circumstances.”
Culver delivered the annual “Condition of the State” message this past Tuesday and he used the occasion to defend his record of the past three years. On Friday night’s show, Culver was asked if he’s worried an “anti-incumbent mood” will doom his bid for a second term as governor.
“You know, I’m not,” Culver said. “I just have to tell the people of Iowa exactly what I’ve done and why I’ve done it and, most importantly, where I want to go.”
Republicans defeated Democrats in gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia last November. Then, last week, the Democratic governor of Colorado announced he would not seek reelection and the leading Democratic candidate for governor in Michigan dropped out of the race. Culver suggests he’s not taking his own bid for reelection lightly.
“Look, this is a very competitive state. I’ve always taken my campaigns very, very seriously. I’ve always expected tough battles for every office that I’ve run for and I like to campaign. I enjoy the opportunity to get out and talk to the voters,” Culver said. “But right now I am focusing nearly 100 percent of my time on governing, on getting things done this legislative session and moving this state forward.”
Culver was elected Iowa’s secretary of state in 1998 and reelected to that post in 2002. In 2006, Culver prevailed in a three-way Democratic primary and then defeated Republican nominee Jim Nussle to win the governorship.