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December 21st, 2009

Pate Contemplates Run for Secretary of State

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Written by: Craig Robinson
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pateFrom 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, 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.

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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