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August 6th, 2010

Vander Plaats Says No to Independent Gubernatorial Run – Now Focuses On Ousting Supreme Court Justices

Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats announced today that he will not run as an independent candidate for governor this fall.  Vander Plaats made the announcement in the shadows of the Iowa Supreme Court building this morning.

“I’m here today to say that I will not be seeking an independent run for governor because I am focused on the future of our state and maintaining our freedoms,” Vander Plaats said. “For too long, we’ve allowed the courts to overstep their authority and there was no clearer example of that than the April 3, 2009 decision by the Iowa Supreme Court on same-sex marriage. The issues of separation of power and judicial activism are important to me and my followers and that’s why we’re going to work to restore the balance between the branches of our government,” Vander Plaats told the media and a handful of supporters who attended the press conference.

While Vander Plaats ended the speculation that he was mulling an independent run, he’s not leaving the political arena.  In fact, he’s reengaging in it.

Vander Plaats also announced that he would be leading the statewide effort to oust the three Iowa Supreme Court Justices who will face a retention vote in the November’s election.  Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, Justice Michael Streit, and Justice David Baker are the three justices that will face the retention vote this year.

The judicial retention process has been in place in Iowa since 1962, and never has a Supreme Court Justice been removed from office.   Since switching to the retention process, only four judges have been removed, all based on their personal conduct.

The political environment is ripe for a coordinated campaign to oust one or more of the three Justices up for retention this year.  While the Court’s unanimous decision in Varnum v. Brien is the motivational factor behind Vander Plaats’ new initiative, there are a number of other reasons for voting no on retention this year that will likely be discussed as Election Day approaches.

For Vander Plaats, his new initiative is a natural fit.  While he refused to publically back Terry Branstad’s gubernatorial campaign, his new endeavor will likely keep some of his passionate supporters engaged in this fall’s election.  The move also helps Vander Plaats remain relevant and in the conversation when other political opportunities present themselves in the future.

Regardless of the political environment, ousting any member of the Court would send a resounding message to the Court and the legal community.  In our recent poll, asked a series of questions about social issues and specifically questions about retention.  We will release the results of that poll early next week.

Video from this morning’s press conference will appear below later today.

Carolyn Jenison, the Executive Director of One Iowa Responds to Vander Plaats

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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