Former Governor Terry Branstad and his supporters have beaten Republican rival Bob Vander Plaats for a second time this month, as Vander Plaats lost the G.O.P. nomination for lieutenant governor to Branstad’s pick.
The Republican Party’s Primary for governor was sort of replayed at the party’s state convention today. Congressman Steve King nominated Branstad’s choice for lieutenant governor, Kim Reynolds. “She represents the values that you and I hold dear,” King said. “She’s an outstanding pick for lieutenant governor.”
Then, supporters of Vander Plaats nominated him to be Branstad’s running mate. State Representative Dwayne Alons of Hull said elected Vander Plaats lieutenant governor would be the “quickest and easiest way” to get “total unity” in the Iowa Republican Party. “This nomination is not about one person, one man or one individual,” Alons said. “I believe I’m speaking for a grassroots effort that has been going on since the beginning of Bob’s campaign.”
Rod Roberts, the third-place finisher in the June 8th Primary, was also nominated to be Branstad’s running mate, but Roberts declined.”I respect the will of the people and the wish of the voters,” Roberts said. “Terry Branstad is the Republican nominee for governor as, as such, it is his prerogative to select his running mate and he has done that in State Senator Kim Reynolds, so I fully support Terry Branstad as well as Kim Reynolds for lieutenant governor.”
Vander Plaats [photo] has not yet endorsed Branstad, and is mulling an independent bid for governor. Vander Plaats spoke to convention delegates, saying he could unite the party if he were its lieutenant governor nominee “Now I understand what happened on June 8…and I fully understand and respect Governor Branstad’s ability to recommend to you who his lieutenant governor should be,” Vander Plaats said. “…But ladies and gentlemen it would be disingenuous of me to go all around the state and champion what I believe are constitutional ideas of ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ and then ignore the voice of the people.”
Vander Plaats has run for governor three times, in 2002, 2006 and in 2010. He spoke to the 2010 convention delegates for less than three minutes, closing with this appeal: “I would ask you, the delegates, to let your voice be heard in how you believe we should unite this party and move forward to victory.”
Reynolds won the nomination for lieutenant governor nominee with 55.6 percent support from convention delegates. That means about 44 percent of the delegates supported Vander Plaats, something Branstad himself acknowledged during his speech at the convention.
“Election campaigns are about choices and we had some excellent candidates that ran and I know some people are disappointed that their choice didn’t win the election, but at the end of the day, we’re all Republicans,” Branstad said. “We need to come together. We need to support this ticket because the future of our state is at stake.”
Branstad also cited today’s convention process as a contrast with Iowa Democrats who avoided a similar showdown over their nominee for lieutenant governor by making a change in party rules two weeks ago during their state convention. “They didn’t have the confidence in their delegates to decide who the lieutenant governor candidate would be,” Branstad said. “We in the Republican Party believe in an open, honest, transparent process and that’s the kind of government we’re going to get.”
Neither Branstad nor Reynolds mentioned Vander Plaats by name during their speeches. Reynolds directed her prickliest comments toward the state’s Democratic governor. “What is Chet Culver’s legacy? He spent too much. He taxed too much. He borrowed too much and he has got to go,” Reynolds said. She repeated that mantra three times during her speech, getting the crowd to recite the last part of it with her the third time. [More photos]
AUDIO: Listen to the nominating speeches for the lieutenant governor candidates: Nominating Speeches
AUDIO: Listen to the speeches from Roberts, Reynolds and Vander Plaats after they were nominated for lieutenant governor: LG candidates peeches
AUDIO: Listen to the speeches from Reynolds and Branstad after Reynolds won the lieutenant governor nomination: Branstad Reynolds