As promised last week, the following is my updated list of possible gubernatorial candidates. I’ve made changes since Election Day and also after seeing the newest voter registration statistics. Please note, these are not in order of who I think would be the best governor of Iowa, these are in order of who I think has the best chance of winning without sacrificing conservative ideals.
#9 – Christopher Rants affected Iowa Republican politics and campaigns more than almost anyone else. He’s been the go-to-guy in the Iowa legislature but either the stars were aligned against him or he was ineffective in his leadership. I didn’t have Rants in the original five, in fact, I called him a non-starter. I still believe he is a non-starter but since he lost his leadership position, he may take a shot at a statewide race.
#8 –Chuck Larson, Jr. – As I wrote in my last ranking, Chuck hasn’t been involved in Iowa politics lately and that definitely hurts him. I don’t know what he’s going to do after his current gig but I just don’t think he’s the guy to lead us into 2010.
#7 –Bruce Rastetter was instrumental in helping Republicans save seats in Des Moines this election cycle. If he were to pursue the Governor’s office his past contributions to Democrats would surely come up. We could maybe dismiss a $100 contribution to Amanda Ragan but $25,000 to Chet Culver? That alone puts him down the list for many.
#6 – Bob Vander Plaats is running. In fact, he’s never really stopped running for Governor. He’s never been able to garner enough support to win a primary but maybe a third time’s a charm. And remember, I still have a little competition going on where whoever guesses closest to the day Bob officially makes his formal announcement of his 2010 gubernatorial bid, can have my blog for a day. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
#5 – Although Matt Whitaker would make a great candidate, I don’t think he’s going to do it. He’s got a great job right now and after looking at registration numbers and the perceived dysfunction in our Party, he’ll pass this time around. I can’t wait until he gets back into politics though!
#4 –Mark Pearson has what it takes to be the next governor of Iowa but he also may choose to wait and see. He’s the type of guy who could get in a little late if he had very good staff and fundraising. Someday Pearson will be representing Iowans.
#3 - I had Congressman Steve King at number one in my original ranking. I still think he’d be the best governor of Iowa but I just don’t want him to leave that wacky place we call the U.S. House of Representatives. King has gone where he is needed his entire political career and the House seems to fit him very well. Nobody has ever questioned King’s campaigning abilities and energy but they have questioned his fundraising ability. This last election proved he can raise money, allowing him to do what he wants. I just think he is sitting out on this one.
#2 –Congressman Tom Latham had an awesome election this time around garnering 61 percent of the vote. He’s well known throughout the state and is now sitting in a very good spot to take on Culver. He is in a similar position as King though and may decide to sit this one out as well. He’d be a very tough opponent in both the primary and general elections.
#1 –Bill Northey is already a rock star to Republicans across the state. He’s won a statewide race in a tough year. Northey has very good conservative credentials and won’t have to prove that to any of us. If Northey jumps in early, he has a great chance of clearing out some other heavy hitters.
As you can see, my ranking has changed a bunch since before the election. Northey and Latham weren’t on the list. The last election jumbled the political map, causing these changes.
By the way, the other day I was thinking it would be great if Northey ran for Governor and Pearson ran for Sec. of Agriculture – anybody out there have the pull to make this happen? How about you Mr. Rastetter?
After reviewing the list I have to say I’m proud of all of these guys. That is one heck of an impressive list and if I’m Culver, I’m shaking in my boots. Bring on 2010!