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June 22nd, 2009

Rants and Vander Plaats Continue to Move Forward With Gubernatorial Campaigns

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Written by: Craig Robinson
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terrace-hill2A Kinder, Gentler Chris Rants?

This past weekend, Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Rants was the guest on Iowa Press. While the show showcased a kinder, gentler Rants, the makeup of the Iowa Press table has changed since Des Moines Register political columnist David Yepsen left the newspaper industry for an academic setting. In his place this weekend was Cedar Rapids Gazette political reporter James Lynch.

Rants’ appearance on Iowa Press showed how he has changed as a candidate. Rants said that he has spent a lot of time traveling the state and listening to activists and donors. When pressed about the decision made by the Republican caucus in January not to have him sever as their leader, Rants admitted that it hurt, that he learned from the experience, and that, had he been selected to lead House Republicans again, he wouldn’t be running for governor. He also handled questions about his “attack dog” persona with ease.

While there has been a lot of discussion about what Rants may need to change to be able to win a statewide office, one thing he will not want to change is his ability to speak intelligently on a number of issues and offer new ideas and solutions to some of the problems facing the state. One of the areas that Rants focused on was reforming the state’s property tax system.

Rants said that Iowa’s high property tax rates are driving jobs out of Iowa. This issue is especially important to the border communities. Rants said that, when state revenues bounce back, those dollars should be used to provide property tax relief instead of growing government. It’s a very interesting idea that is probably easier to implement during tough economic times than when revenues are robust.

For all of Rants’ public perception issues that he has to deal with, his ideas and insight on the workings of state government are much needed in a gubernatorial primary. While some people may be skeptical of the kinder, gentler Rants, I’ve seen it firsthand in my interaction with him.

Dealing with what Rants had to go through after the 2008 elections had to be difficult. It doesn’t matter who you are, it would probably change a person. If Rants is able to combine his ambition and his knowledge of state government with his newly found patience and ability to listen, he could be a formidable candidate.

Vander Plaats Opens Campaign Headquarters

While Chris Rants filed the necessary paperwork for his gubernatorial campaign, Bob Vander Plaats opened a campaign office in Polk County. The Vander Plaats office is located at 5911 Meredith Drive in Urbandale, just off of Merle Hay Road near Charles Gabus Ford, behind the Quick Trip.

The Vander Plaats campaign chair, State Representative Jodi Tymeson, made the announcement via an email sent to Vander Plaats supporters. Tymeson is considered to be the odds-on favorite to be Vander Plaats’ running mate if he is able to secure the Republican nomination.

In the email, Tymeson encouraged people to “adopt” part of the new headquarters. People were asked to sponsor everything from pens, paper, and postage stamps. For $1000, you could be the campaign’s honorary landlord for the month.

While it is typical for campaign to send fundraising requests to help pay for the needed supplies, it’s interesting to see how Vander Plaats is using his campaign chair to help raise funds for his campaign. Tymeson can be a tremendous asset for Vander Plaats. While everyone knows about Bob’s involvement in the Huckabee campaign, Tymeson backed Mitt Romney in the 2008 Iowa Caucuses.

Tymeson has the ability to open new doors that Vander Plaats might have a difficult time opening himself. It will be interesting to watch how Tymeson’s talents are used as the Vander Plaats campaign develops.


About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, 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 TheIowaRepublican.com 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, TheIowaRepublcian.com. 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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