Christopher Rants, the former Republican Speaker of the Iowa House, told Iowa reporters recently that weeks like this tend to make a lot of people consider a run for governor. Rants, who represents a portion of Sioux City, is watching how Governor Culver performs this week on two issues critical to Iowans, taxes and gay marriage, before he makes a decision.
Already this year, we have seen a number of people announce that they are thinking about a potential campaign for Governor, but as of today, only one candidate has filed the appropriate paperwork signaling an official run – Bob Vander Plaats.
Yesterday morning, The Iowa Republican caught up with Rep. Rants and asked him more specifically about a potential run for governor. Rants’ answer shows that he is indeed taking a serious look at a possible campaign.
His main concern about a gubernatorial campaign is figuring out what type of political environment Republicans will have to deal with and if that environment can make up for some of the weaknesses Iowa Republicans have faced in the past. Rants believes the political winds may be at the Republicans’ backs in 2010, but there are still 110,000 fewer registered Republicans than Democrats.
“Knowing that, I have to consider if the other environmental factors cancel out the Democrats’ advantage in voter registration so there would be a level playing field.” Rants added, “I’ve been around the campaign block enough times to know just exactly how difficult it is to run a serious campaign. It takes a lot of time, work, and money.”
Rants is confident that he would be able mount a serious campaign if he decides to move forward and run for governor.
“I’m not afraid of any of that [time, work, money], but I also have no desire to burn through all of that, and other people’s time and money, if I feel the environment is not at least neutral. I’m too practical. This isn’t an ego run; it would be a serious run for change,” said Rants.
Rants said he has a problem asking for other people’s time and money if, in the end, a campaign is not successful. He told The Iowa Republican, “I walk around with certain amounts of guilt from asking people to donate to failed campaigns over the years. To some folks, this is just a game. It’s not to me. It’s too real and too personal.”
Rants said that he has used this session to sit back and get grounded again. He said that he has used the time to figure out if he still has the same drive and determination that he had in the past. He says that he does, and while he thinks this week is critical for Culver, he feels there is still plenty of time to make a decision about a campaign for governor.
Rants also admits he has a lot of soul searching to do. Before announcing any campaign, he would have to have conversations with his family. He has two daughters – at the time of the campaign one will be in high school and the other in junior high.
Now more than ever Iowans are looking for leadership. Rants believes there is a vacuum of leadership, and the leadership that is out there wants to take the state in the wrong direction.
“Frankly one of the things that really nags me is how many people keep asking me if that’s all we have? Why can’t we find someone better? Why don’t you run?” Rants said. “What do you say to long-time supporters who ask you that? I sit back, smile and say, I’m thinking about it….”
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