Branstad, 63, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, isn’t naming names, but clearly has some people in mind – including some Eastern Iowans.
He’s pretty sure his running mate will be young – or at least younger than he is, Branstad said April 28 while traveling Interstate 380 between Cedar Rapids and Coralville.
“But you have to remember, I was 31 when I was elected lieutenant governor,” Branstad said aboard the soy diesel-powered Winnebago recreational vehicle that serves as his mobile campaign headquarters. Whoever he selects will meet the Iowa Constitution requirement of being at least 30.
Before he chooses a running mate, Branstad has to win a three-way June 8 primary with Rep. Rod Roberts of Carroll and Bob Vander Plaats of Sioux City.
He’s come under criticism from Vander Plaats for his previous choice of a running mate – former Sen. Joy Corning of Cedar Falls. She has drawn the ire of conservative Republicans for supporting abortion and, more recently, same-sex marriage.
Branstad acknowledged policy differences with Corning, but said the former Cedar Falls school board president who had defeated a union-backed Waterloo Democratic incumbent to win an Iowa Senate seat was a good choice “at the time.”
“On business and the economy, she shared my views,” Branstad said. He disagrees with some things Corning has done since leaving office, “but she’s a private citizen now.”
This time, Branstad’s confident of finding a running mate who also shares his social views. Although he hasn’t interviewed anyone for the job, Branstad said there are some Eastern Iowans on his list.
While it might make political sense to choose a Republican from vote-rich Eastern Iowa, Branstad said he believes he’s doing well on his own in the region.
More important than where a running mate is from, he said, is that they are intelligent, hardworking, conservative, a good communicator and someone who could serve as governor.
Branstad didn’t rule out a so-called unity ticket – selecting one of his rivals as a lieutenant governor candidate, but downplayed its likelihood. Suggestions he’ll need to select Vander Plaats or Roberts to hold social conservatives may be overblown.
Danny Carroll, a former state representative and chairman of the Iowa Family Policy Center, which has made overturning an Iowa Supreme Court decision striking down a state ban on same-sex marriage a priority, has endorsed Vander Plaats and ruled out supporting Branstad.
“I’m not buying into power play business, those people who say, ‘If I don’t get my way I’m going home,’” Branstad said. “I believe each and every thing should rise fall on its own merits.
“I want to be governor of all the people,” he said. “I won’t be controlled by any faction or any group.”
Branstad, Vander Plaats and Roberts are scheduled to debate May 1 at the Iowa Broadcast News Association convention in Cedar Rapids. The 90-minute debate will be telecast live at 3:30 p.m. on IPTV World and tape-delayed on Iowa Public Television at 9 p.m. It will be replayed during May on Mediacom MC22 and via Mediacom on Demand. It will also be streamed live at www.inba.org and www.iptv.org.
Due to space limitations, the event is not open to the general public.