Gov. Terry Branstad says he is pleased the GOP’s governing board apparently will vote tonight to hold the party’s 2014 state convention in June.
Branstad previously called it “a mistake” when leaders of the Republican Party of Iowa decided to hold next year’s state convention in July rather than the tradition time frame. The move created worries that the later date could hurt GOP candidates competing for the party’s 2014 nomination in Iowa’s U.S. Senate race.
Branstad, who likely will be a candidate on the GOP slate in 2014, told reporters today that “I understand there is broad-based support to restore the June date for the convention” when the party’s 18-member state central committee holds a teleconference meeting this evening.
“I think that’s a positive step and I’m pleased to hear that,” the governor said.
A separate controversy has glared over the possibility that Republicans could hold their 2014 precinct caucuses on a different date that Iowa Democrats – a change that would run counter to a tradition of both events being held on the same date to bolster Iowa’s position as the lead-off state in the presidential selection process.
Branstad said Iowa managed to land the coveted first-in-the-nation position by having both parties work together and increase public participation by having their caucuses on the same night.
“I think that’s a good tradition and, if possible, I’d certainly like to see that,” the GOP governor said. “I know it’s not as important in a non-presidential year, but I do think the history of cooperation between the parties in holding the caucuses on the same date has been a beneficial thing that has increased public participation and gotten the attention of national candidates to come and participate here in Iowa.”
He said Iowa’s 2016 precinct caucuses definitely should be held on the same date in a presidential election cycle where candidates will be competing for an open post when Barack Obama completes in second term and is barred from running for a third time.
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