At a time when many people expect the Republican gubernatorial field to contract, another candidate is throwing his hat into the ring. Later this morning, State Senator Jerry Behn will announce his intentions to run for Governor. Behn will join Bob Vander Plaats, Rep. Chris Rants, Christian Fong, Sen. Paul McKinley, and Rep. Rod Roberts in seeking the Republican nomination.
Behn, a native of Boone County, joined his family’s farming operation after finishing school, which he continues to operate today. He is a member of the Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa Soybean Association. He began his political career in 1994 when he was elected to the Boone County Board of Supervisors. In 1996, he successfully ran for the Iowa State and is currently serving his fourth term.
Last month in an op-ed published on TheIowaRepublican.com, Behn wrote, “Governor Culver seems to no longer be living in Iowa, but in the state of denial. The governor and his crew are telling you, that you are simply not paying enough in taxes to support their habits. They say that the national and Iowa recession is the problem. What they are not telling you is that the state is receiving near record revenue, in spite of the recession.”
Behn voted for and helped pass the Defense of Marriage Act in 1998. He has also consistently pushed for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Behn was also the point person in the state senate in trying to preserve the ban on human cloning. In his years in public office, Behn has proved himself to be a fiscal and social conservative.
In addition to Sen. Behn, fellow GOP candidate Bob Vander Plaats has also scheduled his formal campaign announcement. Vander Plaats will officially enter the GOP gubernatorial race on Labor Day in his home town of Sheldon, Iowa. Since Vander Plaats announced the formation of his “testing the waters” committee last January, he has indicated that a formal announcement would be coming this fall.
While the GOP’s gubernatorial field has now grown to six announced candidates, many Republican activists and donors are waiting to hear if former Governor Terry Branstad will indeed come out of his political retirement and seek the Republican nomination for governor. It is widely expected that a Branstad candidacy would winnow the field of Republican candidates. State Senator Paul McKinley has already let it be known that he would reconsider his run for governor if Branstad enters the race.
As it currently stands, this is the largest field of GOP gubernatorial candidates in recent history. While a Branstad candidacy will impact the primary race significantly, it is unlikely that he would clear the field if he does run. In fact, Sen. Behn’s entrance into the race now signals that he will likely not drop out if Branstad enters the race.
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