One of Governor Terry Branstad’s picks for the Iowa Board of Regents, Robert Cramer, told TheIowaRepublican.com earlier today that he’s seriously considering running for congress in the now open Third Congressional District. Cramer, a Des Moines businessman and former President of the Associated General Contractors of Iowa, is a longtime Republican donor that has a unique set of connections that would make him a formidable candidate in the primary and general election.
Cramer is a Co-President of Cramer and Associates, a Des Moines-based bridge building company. He is a 1990 Construction Engineering graduate of Iowa State University and has his professional license in Civil Engineering. Cramer is responsible for the estimating, engineering, and management of the office. Cramer is also on the Board of Directors of The FAMiLY Leader, perhaps the most prominent social conservative group in the state.
Cramer told TheIowaRepublican.com that he is seriously considering running for the seat being vacated by Congressman Tom Latham. “This is something that has been tugging at me for years,” Cramer said. “I never thought this opportunity would present itself this year. I understand that I have to make my decision quickly.”
Cramer would be formidable in the Republican primary for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he will have the backing and support of Bob Vander Plaats and his organization. That’s extremely valuable in a primary where hardcore conservatives often account for a large portion of the electorate. Cramer also obviously has a strong connection with the Governor and many in the central Iowa business community.
While Democrats where successful in blocking his nomination to the Board of Regents because of his Christian values, Republicans and conservatives of all stripes rallied behind Cramer during the very public lynching. While Democrats castigated him because his views on gay marriage have not “evolved” over the past decade like others, Cramer conducted himself with class and humility.
With less than five months until the Republican primary, Cramer knows that he must make his decision quickly. He believes the strength of his candidacy is that he would appeal to all the factions within the Republican Party. He also indicated that he is willing to invest his own money to get his campaign off the ground.
Cramer’s connections to both the Vander Plaats and Branstad networks make him an intriguing candidate. He also has a good relationship with Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, who he went on a mission trip with last summer. Those sorts of connections could be hard for the other candidates to top, especially knowing that he’s also willing to use some of his own money to launch his campaign.
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