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February 25th, 2010

Huckabee Returns to Iowa to Stump for Vander Plaats

Huckabee in CR2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee was in the state yesterday to help his former Iowa campaign chairman, Bob Vander Plaats. Huckabee devoted most of his day to helping Vander Plaats’ campaign for governor. He attended a high-dollar fundraiser in Cedar Rapids over the noon hour, headlined an event for the Iowa Family Policy Center in Des Moines in the afternoon, and then headed back to Cedar Rapids for an evening rally for the Vander Plaats campaign.

Huckabee touched down at the Eastern Iowa Airport around noon yesterday. His plane was 30 minutes late, but he did spend about 15 minutes talking to the media before departing to the Cedar Rapids Country Club. Huckabee was asked numerous questions regarding the Tea Party movement and the ramifications for Republicans.

TheIowaRepublican.com asked Governor Huckabee, “This afternoon you are attending an event for IFPC in Des Moines. They have said if that, if Terry Branstad is our [Republican] nominee, they cannot support him. You have served in some capacity with Governor Branstad, so, is that an approach you endorse, or what’s your take on that?

After ten minutes of conversation about the Tea Party movement, TheIowaRepublican.com asked Governor Huckabee what makes Governor Culver a poor governor who deserves to be replaced.

The Vander Plaats campaign did a good job of utilizing Huckabee’s time in Iowa. They visited the two largest communities in the state. In Cedar Rapids, they held a fundraiser that cost $1,500 per person or $2,500 per couple. The rally later in the day was free, as was the IFPC event in Des Moines, however, contributions were solicited at that event.

While Vander Plaats got a lot of mileage out of Huckabee’s visit in terms of events, the media had limited opportunities to ask Huckabee and Vander Plaats questions. Members of the media were allowed to cover all of the events except for the fundraiser, but not allowing them the opportunity to ask questions of Huckabee and Vander Plaats in Des Moines and at the rally in Cedar Rapids might have cost them some media coverage.

The press coverage of Huckabee’s visit to Des Moines was more about Huckabee reminiscing about his time running for president than about the guy he traveled to the state to help get elected governor. The press availability in Cedar Rapids yielded stories about what Huckabee thought of the Tea Party movement and IFPC’s marriage initiatives. In most of the stories thus far, Vander Plaats is merely a sub plot.

What the Vander Plaats campaign needs more of than anything is an infusion of cash and a bunch of earned media. There is no doubt that Vander Plaats was able to raise money, attract larger than normal crowds, and get some media coverage, but the question remains whether or not he has what it takes to truly challenge former Governor Terry Branstad in the primary.

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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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