The chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa says he learned that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin had endorsed Terry Branstad’s bid for a fifth term by reading about it on his Blackberry. Palin announced she was backing Branstad on Thursday, an announcement Palin made on Twitter and on Palin’s Facebook page. Iowa Republican Party chairman Matt Strawn was en route to an event in Jones County on Thursday when he checked Palin’s Twitter feed.
“I do follow the governor on Twitter and I believe I’m a Facebook friend as well,” Strawn says, with a laugh. In her Tweet, Palin cited the state motto of Iowa which is “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” She said “that motto will be well served by voting for Terry Branstad for governor next Tuesday!” Strawn isn’t using his own Twitter account or his Facebook page to announce his voting intentions for Tuesday. Strawn has stayed neutral in the G-O-P Primary for governor and is not publicly backing any of the three candidates. Strawn isn’t offering a prediction on voter turn-out next Tuesday, either, merely saying he sees “enthusiasm” among Republicans.
“I think that’s the great thing about the competitive primary process is that we see whether they’re third party groups, whether they’re national politicians or whether they’re just regular folks here in Iowa investing in the process and getting engaged,” Strawn says. Palin, the G-O-P’s vice presidential nominee, drew huge crowds in Iowa during the 2008 general election campaign. In her first trip to Iowa with Republican presidential candidate John McCain, an airplane hanger in Cedar Rapids overflowed with a huge crowd and many began leaving after Palin finished and McCain began his speech.
Palin later campaigned solo in Iowa, drawing large crowds at events in Sioux City and Des Moines. Strawn says Palin is an “important voice within the party,” and there are “certain Iowa Republicans” who may be swayed by her endorsement of Branstad. As for whether Palin’s endorsement will influence the Primary’s outcome…
“I think we’ll find out on Tuesday,” Strawn says. Branstad has just one public event this weekend. He’s walking in the “My Waterloo Days” parade this morning, as is the current governor, Democrat Chet Culver. Branstad’s rival Bob Vander Plaats is holding three campaign rallies today in West Des Moines, Council Bluffs and Hinton.
Chuck Norris, the martial arts specialist who starred in his own TV show, has endorsed Vander Plaats and is appearing with Vander Plaats at each event.
The third candidate in the race for the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nomination is Rod Roberts of Carroll. He’s making campaign appearances today in Treynor at 8 a.m.; in Logan at 1 p.m. and in Atlantic at 4:30 p.m. Roberts is the only one of the three who plans to appear in public on Sunday. Roberts will campaign in Davenport Sunday afternoon.