From 1995 to 1999, Paul Pate served as Iowa’s Secretary of State. Pate chose not to seek a second term in 1998 and instead opted to run for governor when Terry Branstad announced that he would not be seeking another term. Now, ten years later, there is a strong possibility that both Branstad and Pate will be on the ballot next fall as each attempts to get his old job back.
The similarities between Branstad and Pate are deeper than just two former politicians who want another shot at their former jobs. While both have publicly stated that they are deeply troubled by the current direction of our state, they both also bring a lot of political advantages to their respective campaigns.
Like Branstad, Pate is well known. Not only has he held statewide office before, he has also served two terms as the mayor of Iowa’s second largest city, Cedar Rapids. Pate’s name ID in the Cedar Rapids media market makes him a formidable state-wide candidate should he decide to run again.
Another obvious similarity between Pate and Branstad is that both have experience in running the office for which they are campaigning. Iowans have lost confidence in Governor Culver and generally have lost faith in most elected officials. While current Secretary of State Michael Mauro is only in his first term, he has done very little in terms of building his name ID outside of his home base of Polk County. A Pate/Mauro match-up would likely give Democrats heartburn.
In an interview with TheIowaRepublican.com, Pate stated that he has begun to talk to people about running for Secretary of State. Pate said, “It’s a process, and it is important not to skip certain phases of the process when starting to put together a campaign.” Pate admitted that he has been doing his homework and reaching out to past supporters of his previous political endeavors across the state. “It’s important to get a sense of the issues and talk to people who can offer suggestions and insight to the problems facing our state,” Pate added.
Pate would not say what his timeline for announcing his candidacy would be. Pate said, “It’s important for any campaign to be built on a solid foundation, so for the time being, I’ll be meeting with folks and listening to their suggestions and input.” Pate did indicate that the January caucuses are just around the corner, so it does seem that an announcement might occur before then.
Having Pate on the ballot next fall could also help Iowa Republicans be more competitive in eastern Iowa. The political environment already looks good for Republicans next fall, and having Senator Grassley on the top of the ticket in a non-presidential year should also help. Yet, Republicans have struggled in eastern Iowa recently. Having a well-known former mayor on the ballot would obviously benefit all of the Republican statewide candidates.
Before Pate can be on the general election ballot next fall, he will first have to win a primary against Council Bluffs City Councilman Matt Schultz and former State Representative George Eichhorn. The potential three-way primary for Secretary of State is just another indication of the excitement that Republicans are currently experiencing. In previous years, Republicans sometimes found it difficult to recruit one candidate for a particular race, let alone three.
blog comments powered by Disqus