Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds (file photo).

Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds (file photo).

Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds is trying to put to rest persistent rumors that Governor Terry Branstad will retire before his four-year term ends, putting Reynolds into office and setting her up as the incumbent in 2018.

The governor has long denied any such intention. Reynolds was asked at the administration’s weekly news conference if the governor is about to step down. “No. Listen. What does he say at almost every stop? You follow him, what does he end almost every sentence with? Proud of what we’ve done, we’ve got a great story to tell. We’re not done yet,” Reynolds says.

There has been some speculation that Branstad might join the Trump administration as the Ambassador to Chine because of the governor’s close relationship with China’s president. Reynolds also shot down that idea. The governor is currently on a trade mission to China. Branstad has made clear he is grooming Reynolds to eventually become governor.

Reynolds wouldn’t comment on whether Branstad himself will run again in 2018.

Joyce Russell of Iowa Public Radio contributed to this story.