Governor Chet Culver is accusing his Republican foe of being both “out of touch” on the immigration issue and being “two-faced” when it comes to tax policy. A spokesman for former Governor Terry Branstad — the Republican Party’s 2010 nominee for governor — says Culver is the one who’s out of touch and misleading voters.
Branstad says Iowa police should check the citizenship status of occupants in vehicles stopped for traffic violations and detain illegal immigrants in Iowa until they can be deported. Culver says it costs up to a hundred dollars a day to detain an illegal immigrant in an Iowa jail.
“What Governor Branstad demonstrated is that he doesn’t really understand how it all works. Apparently he’s been out of touch on this issue,” Culver says. “Iowa taxpayers can’t afford to foot the bill. That’s precisely what Governor Branstad is offering.”
Tim Albrecht, a spokesman for Branstad, says Branstad’s not saying Iowans should foot the bill for imprisoning illegal immigrants. “The only one who’s out of touch is Governor Culver himself,” Albrecht says. “Terry Branstad has made it clear that the costs associated with the enforcement of our immigration laws should be and will be borne by the federal government.”
Culver’s also criticizing Branstad for saying he might support an increase in the gas tax after the recession is over. “There are two faces of Terry Branstad. I mean, he flip-flops all the time,” Culver says. “He’s done it for 25 years.”
Branstad’s spokesman says Branstad doesn’t support an immediate increase in the gas tax. “Governor Branstad was making the point that it’s a user fee and this is something that is paid by the users of Iowa’s roads and down the road, you know, Iowans will have to decide if that’s something that they’re going to want to consider,” Albrecht says. “But right now Governor Branstad says, ‘Look, we can’t be raising taxes at a time when we’re in a recession.”
Branstad served as Iowa’s governor for four terms and left office in January of 1999. He’s challenging Democrat Chet Culver’s bid for a second term as governor. Like many incumbents, Culver has been trailing in the polls, but Culver told reporters on Thursday the election’s far from over “because issues matter.”
“There are clearly two faces of Terry Branstad on nearly every major issue and that’s going to cost him in the long run because voters want you to stand for something,” Culver said.
Branstad’s mantra through four successful elections was that the only poll that counts is the one that’s taken on Election Day. This year, Branstad’s been hammering the theme that Culver is “reckless and irresponsible” — and Branstad’s spokesman, Tim Albrecht, focuses on that phrase, too.
“We need to get state government under control and it’s going to take a long time to do that with the reckless and irresponsible management of the current Culver Administration,” Albrecht said during a telephone interview Thursday with Radio Iowa.
There are 109 days until November 2, Election Day.