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December 4th, 2013

Branstad, Latham Draw Longshot Primary Challengers

Governor Branstad’s and Congressman Latham’s path to reelection next November drew a couple of speed bumps in recent days. The longtime Republican officials have each drawn a challenger for the June 2014 primary.

Tom Hoefling announced earlier this week that he plans to compete against Governor Branstad for the GOP nomination. Hoefling left the Republican Party in 2008. As of Tuesday, December 3, according to public records, Hoefling remains a registered “no party” voter.

Following his departure from the GOP, Tom Hoefling founded the America’s Independent Party, which has since been shortened to America’s Party. Hoefling, a resident of Lohrville, ran for president on the America’s Party ticket in the November 2012 general election. He garnered 40,000 votes nationwide, essentially finishing eighth out of 27 candidates who qualified for the ballot in at least one state.

When Hoefling’s campaign announced the gubernatorial bid, he released a statement that seemed more focused on what happens after Governor Branstad leaves office instead of actually challenging Branstad in 2014.

“Will our longest-serving Governor be followed by a decade or more of liberal Democrat rule like the last time he left the executive office? Or, will he succeed at replacing himself with someone who represents the Republican status quo? I don’t think either outcome is acceptable. I believe the people of Iowa deserve a principled, practical alternative,” Hoefling stated.

Congressman Tom Latham’s Republican primary challenger is a Des Moines elementary school physical education teacher. Joe Grandanette announced his bid last month. Grandanette ran unsuccessfully for the Iowa House in 2004. He is upset with Congressman Latham’s recent vote on the debt ceiling.

“I am running for the senior citizens and the children so they have a voice in Washington. The budget crisis is crippling our cities, our states, and our nation. Everyone has a budget and Washington needs a budget now,” Grandanette said in a statement.

Both challengers face the daunting task of trying to unseat well-liked and deep-pocketed incumbents. Although Iowa Republicans might not agree with every decision Branstad and Latham make, they overwhelmingly approve of the job they are doing.

Defeating either of them in a primary would be a difficult task for a more prominent challenger. Hoefling and Grandanette will have problems appealing to more than the fringe. Their first step is acquiring enough petition signatures to qualify for the ballot. That is no easy task, either.

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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