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June 23rd, 2010

Branstad Picks Reynolds

When Terry Branstad got to choose a new lieutenant governor for his 1990 campaign, he went to a first-term, female state senator to fill that role.  It now seems history is repeating itself.

Sources tell that Branstad will announce that he has selected Kim Reynolds to be his running mate.  Reynolds was elected to the State Senate in 2008 after serving for 13 years as Clarke County Treasurer.  She has also been a co-chair of the Iowa State County Treasurers’ Association, and Branstad previously appointed her to the IPERS board in 1996.

Reynolds has proven to be a good campaigner, holding public office for 15 years and getting elected to the State Senate in a year that overwhelmingly favored Democrats. Reynolds has managed to maintain her successful political career despite some substantial personal liabilities.  Reynolds has two convictions for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, the most recent occurring in 2000.

Reynolds is relatively unknown, which will create an opportunity for the Branstad campaign to mold her image across the state.  She carries herself in a very professional and impressive manner, which will likely excite potential supporters.  However, while she doesn’t have a record that appears hostile to socially conservative issues, she will likely do very little to appeal to values voters who supported Rod Roberts and Bob Vander Plaats in this post-primary season.

Reynolds was in the State Senate when the Varnum v. Brien Iowa Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage came down and failed to take any sort of leadership role in opposing the Court’s ruling.  She has also been the target of criticism for her failure to protect the rights of private property owners as related to an eminent domain action in her own Senate District in which developers sought to obtain lands that would not only become a water reservoir, but also a recreational waterfront area.

There is no doubt that Reynolds can perform the duties of lieutenant governor, but her selection signals that Branstad and his advisors were looking for a moldable personality that would not steal any spotlight from Branstad himself.  This selection can also be seen as a political pick made to appeal to females in the general election, and her selection does not give Republicans a strong heir apparent to the governorship in the future when Branstad retires.

If Branstad had selected a stronger, more accomplished running mate such as Jeff Lamberti to be his Lieutenant Governor, Lamberti would have been the obvious choice to succeed Branstad, and any other potential candidates would have awaited his decision before entering the race.  With someone like Reynolds in the lieutenant governor spot who might be perceived as being more vulnerable, the candidate field is likely to be crowded once Branstad announces his retirement.

When asked for comment on this story, a Branstad representative didn’t deny that Reynolds was the pick, but stated, “I would be extremely careful [in] jumping to conclusions.”

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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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