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June 4th, 2010

Palin Backs Branstad – Vander Plaats Supporters Howl

In a surprise move just days before Iowa Republicans go to the poll to nominate a gubernatorial candidate, Sarah Palin decided to weigh in and endorsed former Governor Terry Branstad yesterday.

Her endorsement caught many off guard, including Branstad himself. Branstad was at a campaign event in Jefferson when news of her endorsement broke. caught Branstad’s reaction to the news as his communications director, Tim Albrecht, informed him of the endorsement.


The news angered supporters of Bob Vander Plaats campaign. A number of them expressed their dissatisfaction by calling her a sellout. Vander Plaats’ campaign manager, Eric Woolson told the Des Moines Register, “I think that she’s seriously damaged her 2012 presidential prospects. This says to me she’s either not running for president or she doesn’t understand Iowa very well, because she has just alienated herself from her natural base. If you look at her Facebook page, all of the comments are saying ‘Terry Branstad? Really?’”

Woolson and other Vander Plaats supporters are upset with Palin because she didn’t endorse who they believe is the most conservative candidate in the race. All three Republican candidates running for governor are pro-life, and each of them advocates for the people of Iowa to have an opportunity to vote on whether or not gay marriages should be legal.

The real difference between the candidates lies in whether or not you support Vander Plaats’ executive order that purports to place a stay of gay marriages in the state. This is a position that some, including, have claimed has no basis in the state constitution and would drastically expand the powers of the executive branch.

The Palin endorsement of Branstad came just hours after Dr. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, personally endorsed Bob Vander Plaats. One of Vander Plaats’ chief surrogates, WHO Radio personality Steve Deace, has stated publically that he believes both Dobson and Pailn are political sellouts.

In March of 2010, Deace wrote a scathing rebuke of Dobson. He said, “[Dobson] supported and urged Christians to support several politicians who would in fact kill babies. Candidates like George W. Bush and John McCain, for instance.

Deace has already bashed Palin’s endorsement of Branstad. On his Facebook page, Deace writes, “…lol…at first watching Sarah Palin attempt to clumsily parlay her celebrity status into the partisan political game was painful, but now it’s downright humorous.”

Deace has yet to share his thoughts on Dr. Dobson.

On the political front, we don’t really know what to think of Palin’s endorsement of Branstad. Is she trying to back the candidate who many believe will be the winner next Tuesday in advance of a 2012 presidential run, or does she simply think the Branstad is the best man for the job?

Since the 2008 presidential campaign, Palin has treated Iowa with kid gloves. She barely set foot in the state last fall when she did a book signing in Sioux City. She turned down an invitation from the Iowa Family Policy Center last October to headline their annual banquet, which ironically would have been held on the same night that Vice President Biden was to be in town.

If Branstad wins the primary and is successful in the November election, it’s doubtful this endorsement will damage her in any way, shape, or form. However, if Vander Plaats pulls off an upset next Tuesday, a potential caucus campaign would become exponentially more difficult.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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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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