Thursday, August 14, 2008

2010 Gubernatorial Race Ranking

As promised, here’s how I would rank the Republicans profiled in this blog according to my opinion on who would be the best candidate for this great state.

A good candidate will have the energy and tenacity to run a campaign on the issues and against the opponent. A good candidate will know the issues inside and out and will be aligned with the voters on the majority of the issues. A good candidate will know how to utilize the free and paid media. A good candidate will be able to raise a ton of money as well as run a full court grassroots campaign. A good candidate won’t run from each and every battle because he will be too busy winning the war on the offensive.

Before I get to my ranking, take a moment to think of a past statewide candidate that did all of the above? Oh and to make it harder, Democrats are excluded.


There is absolutely no chance for Iverson, Dix or Rants to make a successful run. No chance. Zip, zero, nada, no way. I just wanted to add them by name so no one thought I didn’t know they were interested.

#5 – Chuck Larson, Jr.

I’ve put Chuck at number five because he hasn’t been involved in the past few years and to be honest, when he was involved, not too many people thought highly of him outside the establishment.

Chuck would make a fair candidate but with the field we have available, I just don’t see him becoming our next governor. Someday maybe, but not in 2010.

#4 – Bob Vander Plaats

If King runs, Bob is out. It may take awhile for Bob to realize this, but it will certainly be earlier than when he bowed out in February to join Nussle.

BVP has a good-size following inside the GOP base and he was victorious by jumping on board Huckabee’s caucus train when he was still in low single digits. I know that had more to do with Huck than anything BVP did, but now Bob can tap into that organization.

If Bob thinks the third time is a charm, he will have to add a lot more punch to his 2010 campaign. He will absolutely have to be specific on issues. He will have to tell the rank-and-file exactly what he will do with taxes, what programs he will shrink or abolish. He is going to have to become a policy wonk as well as a motivational speaker. I just don’t feel good about a third try at Governor for Bob.

Bob has a role inside the GOP, but nobody can find it.

#3 – Matt Whitaker

If neither King nor Pearson give the Governor’s race a go, I would love to see Whitaker swoop in as the crusader who can clean up Iowa government. Whitaker is in the position to come in as an outsider with great experience and turn this state around. The voters would eagerly jump on board with him.

Whitaker is a conservative and the rank-and-file primary voters are still enamored with his aggressive and upbeat campaign in 2002. In any role, Whitaker is a great leader for the Republican Party. Young, dynamic, and a powerful presence, Whitaker can help all of us turn the corner to prosperity.

#2 – Mark Pearson

This is an early ranking based solely on expectations. I expect Pearson will run. I expect he will stay conservative. I expect that he will be able to handle himself on the stump.

With that out of the way, I expect he would be a remarkable candidate for office. He’s folksy, which is a trait Iowa voters like in their politicians. He can certainly articulate a message. Image alone can take Pearson most of the way past Culver in the polls. I also like the fact that Pearson comes from outside the political culture. Most elected officials lose their marbles within a term or two. Pearson will have a better perspective than most on the GOP bench.

What it will boil down to for Pearson is, first, his willingness to take up the social conservative gauntlet and, second, King deciding against running. These two hurdles are the only things keeping Pearson out of terrace Hill.

#1 – Steve King

Conservative voters will pick King over anyone in the primary if he chooses to run. I hope he does because we want someone who isn’t afraid to fight and to stand up for what we all believe in. We are sick of watered down conservatism. It has lost us the state house, state senate, governor’s mansion, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and will probably put Obama in the White House. By now we better have learned that doesn’t work to win elections. We need to draw a bright line between Democrat and Republican. King draws that line better than anyone else in the state.

King’s conservative stance will be welcomed by voters in rural areas of the state as well as conservatives in urban centers. King knows how to run a campaign better than most and has the energy to outwork any other candidate.

Sure the media hates King, but name someone you know who trusts the media. After King wins the primary and Republicans across the state get behind him, you will see a tidal wave of conservatism sweep this state. Is it risky for King? Absolutely. I believe he would put the relative security of remaining in his Congressional seat behind him to run for governor and take back our state from liberal mismanagement and corruption.

A commenter on this blog got it right when they said Republicans should be enthused by the quality of potential candidates we have to choose from in 2010. Looking at the list, their records, their abilities, and potential, I believe Steve King belongs at the top of the list.


Anonymous said...

Great post and awesome analysis.

I would put Larson ahead of BVP - largely because he is the only Eastern Iowa candidate on the list and his ability to raise money.

Risky move putting Pearson at #2, but Krusty had Huckster as his dark horse in early 2007.

That seemed to work out fine for him!

Anonymous said...

"King knows how to run a campaign better than most and has the energy to outwork any other candidate"

I agree with the energy and the working but the running of the campaign is certainly up for debate.

Quite honestly, Steve King sucks at raising money. I don't know if he just doesn't ask for money, if he just doesn't get the big checks, or if he feels he doesn't need it to win...but...any GOPer is going to need 10 Million or more to make Culver a one-termer.

King has never raised over a million dollars for any campaign - ever.

Anonymous said...

I really hope King doesn't run because he likely will win the primary.

And then....

He has no chance at winning the general. None. Zero. Nada.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:45,

Who has the best chance to win the General?

Does any Republican?

Eastern IA Conservative said...

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize the best candidates to win a statewide office are those who have proven that they can.

Vaudt, Northey, Branstad and Pate are the only ones I can think of.

Anonymous said...

The facts are not looking good for Steve King if he decides to run.
and here are my reasons.

1. He does not have much name value out of the fifth district.

2. There has not been a one term governor since 1963 In fact there has not been a governor that has been defeated since the 1969.

3. He will not be able to raise the needed cash. I believe 10 million would be a modest some when trying to defeat money bags Culver.

4. I believe King would rather run for the senate seat and I believe that Grassley would be more inclined to retire.

5. You left out Tom Latham? Why?

Anonymous said...

You may be right that King would win the Republican primary, but he would lose by 20 points in the general. After a thumping like that, whatever moderates in the party didn't defect to Lugnuts would blame the loss on the evangelicals, claiming they have hijacked the party and run it into the ground. (And the moderates will claim they prediced this.) We need someone with broader appeal. I am not, frankly, enamored with anyone on your list, although Chuck Larson's time may be coming soon. Although I don't think Northey has the goods to beat Chet, I am curious as to why you left him off your list.