Former Governor Terry Branstad won the Republican nomination for governor last night. With 87% of the vote in, Branstad leads his opponent with 50% to Bob Vander Plaats’ 41%. State Representative Rob Roberts secured 9% of the vote.
Bob Vander Plaats performed much better than the Des Moines Register Poll predicted. Last weekend’s Iowa Poll showed Branstad winning by a margin of 28 points. Vander Plaats gave Branstad a run for his money in the most unlikely of places, Polk County.
Early results showed Vander Plaats in a dead heat with Branstad. The first results that came in were from Polk County. Vander Plaats’ strength in central Iowa can likely be attributed to the support he received by WHO Radio personality Steve Deace. Vander Plaats was also embraced by the Des Moines Tea Party, which has a large following in Polk County.
Vander Plaats couldn’t match Branstad in other parts of the state where he didn’t have the advantages made available to him in Polk County. Vander Plaats concession speech was very gracious. He indicated that he and Branstad plan to meet about their difference in an effort to unite Republicans moving forward.
Branstad’s biggest after winning the nomination is uniting the party. He also has to decide who will be his running mate. That is also a decision that can either help or hinder party unity.
Branstad is joined on the ticket by Dave Jamison and Matt Schultz who won contested primaries for State Treasurer and Secretary of State. Both are outstanding candidates who won in a convincing fashion.
The slate of statewide candidates will also include Brenna Findley, who was uncontested in the primary for Attorney General, United States Senator Chuck Grassley, State Auditor Dave Vaudt, and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. The statewide Republican ballot is as strong as it has ever been. It is likely to be even stronger after Branstad selects his running mate.
Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn issued a statement saying, “The Republican Party of Iowa is stronger today because of the efforts of Governor Branstad, Representative Roberts and Mr. Vander Plaats. The competitive and hard-fought primary showcased the strength of the Iowa GOP, our principled conservative solutions, and encouraged thousands of Iowans to join our ranks and register as Republicans. Tonight, I join Republicans all across Iowa in congratulating Governor Branstad and stand ready to do what is necessary to make him Iowa’s next governor.”
“Today, Iowa Republicans put their faith in Terry Branstad, and so too, will a majority of Iowans this November. Iowans deserve principled leadership from a governor who will spur job growth in the private sector, reign in out-of-control state spending, and demand excellence from Iowa’s educational system. Terry Branstad is just the kind of leader Iowa needs and deserves,” Strawn added.
Tim Murtaugh, a spokesperson for the Republican Governors Association said, “Terry Branstad’s record is one of undeniable success. During his tenure as governor, Iowa enjoyed a sustained period of economic growth, prosperity and low unemployment. The people of Iowa can count on him to lead them out of this economic difficulty.”
The RGA also released a web video last night blasting Culver for the state’s high unemployment number.
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