With Bill Northey hiring political operatives Tim Moran and Marcus Branstad, speculation of Northey running for governor is at an all time high. Since none of us really know his true plans and can only speculate, I thought I’d take a look at what a Northey for Governor effort would mean for Bob Vander Plaats, Christopher Rants, and the invisible candidate of Doug Gross.
Northey is known as a very nice man with good principles and great character. As a newcomer to politics in a horrible election year for Republicans in 2006, Northey was able to win the Sec. of Agriculture’s office by 27,000 votes or 2.8 percent. Obviously this doesn’t mean he’s a shoo-in but it definitely gives him an advantage over BVP and Rants.
Northey also has done an excellent job balancing the Sec. of Agriculture position with appealing to the conservative base. Since BVP has made it his mission to be the most conservative candidate in the race, Northey will have to answer the life and marriage questions with conviction, but since he is trusted by Republicans, he will only have to answer them once. Northey also has a leg up on BVP in many people’s view because he’s held elected office and has run his department well. Basically, he has experience and BVP does not.
BVP does have Sioux County though. In 2002, Sioux County made up 4 percent of the Republican vote in the Primary Election. Of those 7,811 votes, BVP garnered 84 percent of them or 6,565. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot but 6,565 votes comes out to over 3 percent of the vote. But with a Northey run, I don’t know that BVP will be able to count on those votes. Looking back to 2002, Doug Gross didn’t have much luck over there and Sukup didn’t give that county much time. Northey is well known in that area, is a farmer, and a conservative – three things key to gaining support in NW Iowa.
For Rants I’m afraid a Northey run would all but take him out of the race. I’m not saying he should drop out if Northey runs but I think he will find it hard to find his niche. Since BVP is the social conservative in the race, Rants has the opportunity to fill the everyday Republican role well. If Northey does run, Rants loses that niche to Northey and can only hope to get the moderates and bits and pieces of Northey’s and BVP’s supporters. That’s a difficult thing to do against an entrenched BVP and a very well liked Northey. On the other hand, Rants does have the fiscal issues down. Other than Vaudt, Rants may be the best in the state to describe the financial mess we have in Iowa. I don’t know that he’ll articulate the major reform type changes we need to make but he’ll definitely articulate a very good fiscal message.
We also must consider the yet to be named invisible candidate of Doug Gross. Most of you know my thoughts of that candidate’s chances but in case there is any doubt, I’ll clear it up. If Northey runs, he thumps a Doug Gross invisible candidate. In fact, if Northey runs, there will be no Doug Gross invisible candidate.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this as well. I love predictions, especially this early in a race.
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