With Tuesday’s Primary Election over, the first attack ad of Iowa’s General Election campaign was released this morning by the Republican Governors Association, to benefit incumbent Governor Terry Branstad. Branstad’s opponent suggests it’s a signal needs outside help, because Branstad’s bid for a sixth term is in trouble.
The ad from the Republican Governors Association criticizes Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jack Hatch for his opposition to a 2006 bill. That bill placed new restrictions on government authority to seize private property in Iowa for development. Hatch plans to air biographical ads in June, to try to define himself for voters rather than let Terry Branstad and Branstad’s allies do it first. Hatch has hinted the ads will focus on his career in property development.
“The biggest initial challenge I have is to let people see who I am,” Hatch said during a statehouse news conference in April. “I’m one of the first Democratic candidates for governor that actually is a businessman and yet he’s going to try to paint me as a liberal Democrat from Des Moines.”
During a speech at a GOP fundraiser in May, Branstad described Hatch as both a liberal and a “millionaire.” Hatch describes himself to voters as a “progressive.”
“But as a businessman I understand the role of enterprise in this state,” Hatch said. “I respect the private sector and the market-driven enterprises and that’s what they’re going to hear from me and I plan on coming out of the shute with a messsage that will help define who I am early.”
In his first four races for governor, Branstad effectively defined his past opponents for voters before the Democratic Party’s nominee had a chance to do so. Hatch says he’s well aware of Branstad’s tactic and Hatch hopes to be able to define himself for voters first.
“When you peel back the onion a little bit and you see, ‘Gee, there’s more to this guy than just being a senator from Des Moines,'” Hatch told reporters in May. “I understand the depth of the responsibility of state government and I understand also what we can do and need to do to provide more business and job growth in this state as a businessman.”
Hatch’s campaign manager says the Republican Governors Association “wasted no time releasing a false, misleading” attack, a signal Branstad’s bid for a sixth term as governor “is in real trouble.” Hatch “has never used eminent domain on a real estate project,” according to his campaign, and actually fought against a government condemnation plan to save a prominent and historic building in Des Moines.
Branstad faced a Republican primary opponent in Tuesday’s voting. Branstad won 83 percent of the primary vote compared to Tom Hoefling’s 17 percent. This morning Branstad embarked on a 14-city tour of Iowa to kick off his General Election campaign. On Monday during his weekly news conference at the capitol Branstad was coy about his campaign plans.
“I’m not going to give away my secrets,” Branstad told reporters Monday. “I’d just say that I’m very appreciative of the broad base of support that we’ve received from all over the state of Iowa and I’m very appreciative of the people who have donated their time and their resources to help us. I want to run the best and most effective campaign we can.”
Branstad did promise to campaign for and with the entire Republican ticket.
“My goal as governor is to lead a strong, effective team to victory,” Branstad said. “We want to run and effective, energetic campaign and in the months ahead we will share my vision for the future.”
Branstad’s campaign released its own ad this morning (Wednesday), touting Branstad’s record in his fifth term as governor. On Monday, Branstad has repeatedly told statehouse reporters to “stay tuned” for more developments in the race.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting and an exciting time and I’m very much looking forward to getting on the campaign trail,” Branstad said Monday.
Branstad’s campaign stops this morning were in Oskaloosa and Ottumwa and he’ll be in Mount Pleasant, Burlington and Davenport this afternoon. Other statewide Republican candidates, as well as G-O-P nominees for Iowa’s congressional seats, are joining the tour. The GOP campaign trek goes to Dubuque, Marion, Cedar Falls and Marshalltown on Thursday. On Friday stops are scheduled in Boone, Fort Dodge, Carroll and Denison.