Sunday, August 17, 2014

Race of the Day- Iowa Governor

79 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Blue State (Midwest)

Outlook: Likely Republican

While Iowa may have one of the closest U.S. Senate races in the country this year, the race for Governor appears to be far more one sided. As one of the most overall politically competitive states in the country, either party seems capable of winning big races in the Hawkeye State. Still, Democrats have seemed to have a bit of an edge in recent years. Thanks to Terry Branstad alone though, Republicans have had long stints in charge of the state's executive branch.

First elected Governor in 1982, Branstad would go on to be reelected three times and established himself as a political institution in his state when he finally decided to retire after the 1998 elections. He was succeeded by a Democrat, who would go on to serve two terms and then that party held the office after the 2006 election of Chet Culver. In the meantime, Branstad worked in business and became President of a University, when people began to call for him to run once again for Governor against an increasingly vulnerable Culver. Thus, in 2010, Branstad mounted a comeback effort, in which he had to fight a bit for the GOP nomination, but would prevail and then go on to oust Culver from the Governor's Mansion by nearly 10 points. While the time in between was not as long as Jerry Brown's in California, Branstad was back in his old job after 12 years. Not yet 70 years old, if Branstad is elected to another term this year, he will become the longest serving Governor in American history.

Democrats were confident that they could put up a real challenge to Branstad, whom they thought had only won another term in 2010 under extraordinary circumstances. Culver contemplated a comeback, but passed. A politically promising State Representative, Tyler Olson, entered the field and produced campaign material featuring his family. He would drop out of the race in late 2013 though shortly after the surprise announcement that he and his wife were divorcing. That left the field and the nomination basically ceded to State Senator Jack Hatch.

While some on the right in Iowa have issues with Branstad, who was once considered to be as conservative as they come, he managed to win the Republican nomination without much difficulty. Along with him for another term, is current Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, who had passed up a chance to run for the U.S. Senate. Reynolds is the 4th Lt. Governor to serve under Branstad and the third woman. The office of Lt. Governor has been held strictly by women since the first one was elected in 1986, and it was taken for granted that Hatch would also pick a female running-mate. He selected Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon, after his primary victory. She had recently lost a competitive Congressional primary and had been a Republican not long ago. Not everyone in the Democrat Party was pleased with her selection.

With so many Governors of all kinds of political stripes showing vulnerabilities this year, it is impressive for Branstad that he seems to be in as good shape as he is. Polls have consistently shown the incumbent leading Hatch by figures outside the margin of error and the most recent poll out today, by Rasmussen Reports, shows the Republican with a 52-35 lead. If that is accurate, this race could very well be already over.

At this point, I will consider the political makeup of Iowa and for now, leave the slightest glimmer of possibility to Hatch and his party. It seems like it will take something pretty crazy though to prevent Branstad from collecting yet another Gubernatorial victory. Republican Presidential hopefuls may soon be clamoring for his support in the First in the Nation Caucus state, but in 2014, Republicans are hoping he can have coattails in helping send some people to Washington.

Branstad campaign link:

Gubernatorial races predicted thus far: 4 D (1 Safe, 1 Leans, 2 Tossup) , 9 R (2 Safe, 2 Likely, 5 Leans)
Overall totals predicted thus far: 11 D, 16 R (net Republican gain of 2)


At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Conservative Democrat said...

Branstad should get to double digits in November:

Branstad (R-inc.)-56%
Hatch (D)-40%


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