A handful of the Republicans who’re running for statewide office have embarked on a tour of the state, with a kick-off event at Terry Branstad’s campaign headquaters late this morning. 

Matt Strawn, the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, touted the Republican voter turnout in Tuesday’s Primary Election.  Over 226,000 Republican ballots were cast, which is a 16-year high.  According to Strawn, that’s a sign the Republicans’ “limited government” message is selling with voters.

“More and more people across this state are seeing the Republican Party and our candidates as the key ingredient to restoring conservative, principled government that the people of Iowa not only need, but the people of Iowa deserve,” Strawn said. 

Dave Jamison, the G.O.P. candidate for state treasurer, is challenging State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, a Democrat who has held the post for over three decades. “Iowa needs new leadership.  We certainly need new leadership int he state treasurer’s office,” Jamison told the crowd at Branstad campaign headquarters.  “And I am anxious to get this campaign started.” 

Brenna Findley is the Republican candidate challenging Democrat Tom Miller, the state’s attorney general. “I knew it was the right year to run this year because I’m 34 years old and when I looked back in the history books it turns out that our current attorney general in 1978 was my age when he ran for attorney general in 1978 and beat the incument,” Findley said.  “And that’s just what we’re going to do this year.”

Former Governor Terry Branstad, the Republican Party’s 2010 nominee for governor, told the Thursday morning crowd at his campaign headquarters that one of his goals is to make politics “fun again.”

“You know, I never imagined I’d be doing this again, but I never imagined we’d have a Governor Chet Culver either,” Branstad said, as the crowd laughed.

Branstad suggested the low voter turnout for Democrats in Tuesday’s Primary is a harbinger of things to come.  “I think what happened on Tuesday was a good indication of what can happen in November and we saw it last year in Virginia, in New Jersey — even in the special election in Massachusetts of all places,” Branstad said.  “People are not happy with business as usual.”

Branstad and the rest of the G.O.P. candidates were in Ottumwa at 2 p.m. today and they’re scheduled to be in Marion at five o’clock.  A rally in Bettendorf is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.  Matt Schultz, the G.O.P. nominee for secretary of state, was the only Republican candidate for statewide office who did not participate in the tour.  The party’s chairman says Schultz is away on a long-anticipated family vacation. 

Listen to today’s rally at Branstad campaign headquarters in Urbandale here: FallKickoff 18:54 MP3