Senator Tom Harkin is offering up a defense for incumbent Governor Chet Culver. Culver, a Democrat, is facing an uphill battle for reelection against Terry Branstad, the Republican who served as Iowa’s governor for four terms.
“I’ve been reading Terry Branstad’s campaign statements. I’m kind of scratching my head. I’ve never heard of a politician running for governor on a platform of taking the state backward by a couple of decades. I’ve never heard of a politician so proud to be yesterday’s man. I’ve come to believe that Terry Branstad’s favorite day of the year is November 7th,” Harkin said this past weekend.
“That’s the day you turn your clock back.” Harkin made that statement on Saturday at the Iowa Democratic Party’s state convention, about an hour before Chet Culver addressed the delegates. Harkin was first elected to congress in 1974 and is currently serving in his fifth term in the U.S. Senate.
Harkin uses the word “retread” to describe Branstad, who served six years in the state legislature, four years as lieutenant governor and 16 years as governor, but left his job as president of Des Moines University to run for a fifth term as governor. “And the problem with retreads is that they have a tendency to blow out and cause a lot of wrecks,” Harkin said. “That’s why I always buy premium tires and that’s why I’m betting on our high-performance, all-weather, steel-belted, Kevlar-reinforced Governor Chet Culver this year.”
Harkin praised Culver for pursuing what Harkin described as a “progressive” agenda, signing an increase in Iowa’s minimum wage and providing state grants to expanding companies in the renewable fuels industry. Branstad campaign spokesman says Democrats like Harkin seem “fixated” on the past.
Tim Albrecht, Branstad’s communications director, says the former governor is offering a “positive vision for the future” and Democrats are worried because Branstad has a track record of success.