Iowa’s Republican governor says former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack would be a “fish out of water” if she chooses to move to Ames and challenge Republican Congressman Steve King in 2012. King plans to seek reelection in Iowa’s new fourth congressional district which includes Sioux City, Spencer and Mason City as well as Ames.
“Well, she’s never lived in northwest Iowa and it’s a heavily Republican area,” Branstad said this morning.
A spokesman for Christie Vilsack has not responded to Radio Iowa’s phone or email messages, but the D.C.-based publication “Politico” has reported that Vilsack is laying the groundwork for a race against King. Governor Branstad paused for several seconds when a reporter asked him about that match-up.
“I think in southeast Iowa she would be a pretty formidable candidate where she grew up,” Branstad said. “I think in northwest Iowa she’d be a fish out of water.”
Mount Pleasant is Christie Vilsack’s hometown and is now in Iowa’s new second congressional district, where Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack intends to move. Christie Vilsack and her husband, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, settled in Mount Pleasant after they married. Tom Vilsack practiced law with his father-in-law and Christie Vilsack had a teaching career.
Tom Vilsack, who is now U.S. Ag Secretary, toured two farms in central Iowa today, but declined to comment on Branstad’s “fish out of water” assertion. “You know, this is an official event; probably not a good idea for me to talk about what may or may not be in my wife’s future,” the ag secretary said, “so I’ll be glad to talk to you about agriculture.”
Vilsack and the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency toured a livestock farm near Pleasantville, then went to a biodiesel plant in Newton to talk with officials there.
Their final public stop was at a farm near Prairie City where Gordon Wassenaar showed the E.P.A. administrator some of his conservation practices, and the computer-guided sprayer he uses in his fields.
Listen to Branstad’s comments: TEB
Listen to Vilsack’s comments: TJV