The thought of his representative in the U.S. Congress being a liberal carpetbagger who refuses to take a stand on important issues is not something that sits well with Terry Branstad. However, that post-Halloween nightmare is a possibility, depending on what happens on next Tuesday.
Iowa’s governor is a permanent resident of Boone, which places him in the state’s new Fourth Congressional District. Republican Tom Latham is Branstad’s current congressman. Due to redistricting, his new representative will either be longtime friend Steve King or former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack. Governor Branstad makes it clear which candidate he prefers.
“With Steve King, we’ve got somebody that is a reliable, hard working, intelligent voice for Iowa in the United States Congress,” Branstad said “That’s why I’ve been very proud to support him. We need to prove that just moving to Story County for a matter of months doesn’t make you a resident of northwest Iowa.”
Governor Branstad joined Congressman King at a campaign rally in the Ames GOP Victory office on Wednesday. The duo tried to inspire staff and volunteers to continue working hard in the remaining five days to insure not only a King victory, but also help Mitt Romney and other Republicans on the ticket in Story County.
“I know that a lot of liberals thought that with a whole lot of money, they can come in and buy this district with somebody that had a name that people would recognize,” Branstad said. “But I think the people Iowa are smarter than Nancy Pelosi and the animal rights activists.”
King and Branstad have been allies for many years. Steve King was elected to the Iowa Senate in 1996 and quickly become one of the most prominent members of the legislature. After 14 years as Iowa’s governor, Branstad finally had a Republican majority in the senate to work with. Together, they were able to accomplish long lasting reforms for Iowans.
“One of the first things he helped us do was get rid of the inheritance tax for children and grandchildren,” Branstad said. “When you’re trying to plan today and you’re trying to pass on your family farm or business to the next generation, that is critically important. He also helped us reduce the income tax.”
That 10 percent across-the-board income tax reduction remains the largest tax cut in state history. A couple of years later, while still serving in the state senate, King successfully sued then-Governor Tom Vilsack for exceeding his authority via an executive order. Following six years of fighting for conservative causes at the Iowa Capitol, King successfully ran for Congress. Now, he’s a national firebrand and one of the top targets for Democrats on Election Day.
“You know what their agenda is,” Branstad said. “Nancy Pelosi knows that Steve King was one of the biggest thorns in her side when she was Speaker, and she wants to be Speaker again. And thank God she’s not and we don’t want her to ever be. We saw the damage that she did. She’s one of the people that orchestrated Obamacare and it’s unaffordable and unsustainable and that’s why it’s got to be repealed and replaced.”
This year, facing the toughest electoral challenge of his career, Steve King has worked hard to earn Iowans’ votes. He has visited 382 towns and all 39 counties in the new Fourth Congressional District. His campaign has posted 750 barn signs throughout the district. Many are in prime locations along I-35, while there are few visible indications of support for Christie Vilsack.
“We have the advantage I think because first of all, we’re right philosophically,” King told the Ames crowd. “We have a better ground game organization. We’ve been able to match them up I think dollar-for-dollar on the media ad buys and we believe in what we’re doing.”
King and Vilsack have engaged in seven debates. Each one showed King answering with straightforward, detailed responses. Vilsack’s tactics were the exact opposite. She dodged questions and repeatedly attacked Congressman King.
“We finished the seventh one last night and I will tell you that I think there were a lot of things said by my opponent that she didn’t believe,” King said. “Just listen to the tone of the voice and you think, if you have conviction it won’t sound like that. On the other hand, you know what I believe. The same thing you believe. And I’m going to continue to deliver it to you.”
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