“Now the spotlight is on me,” Sen. Jack Hatch said about the race for the 2014 Democratic nomination for governor.
Although he feels a “greater sense of opportunity” since Rep. Tyler Olson, D-Cedar Rapids dropped out of the race, Hatch said Monday the race hasn’t changed much.
“We were both focused on defeating Republican Gov. Terry Branstad,” who is expected to formally announce his bid for a sixth term in January, Hatch said. “We had identical goals. We wanted to focus on Gov. Branstad, his policies, his mismanagement, his misdirection and missed opportunities.”
If he wasn’t the frontrunner before, Hatch is now, and that challenges him to “step up and solidify the base and get advocates to work around our campaign and to draw people into a very strong message campaign.”
So the Des Moines Democrat is reaching out to groups that had been supporting Olson or were uncommitted. Among them is AFSCME, the 40,000-member union that endorsed Olson, as well as other unions.
Hatch is highlighting the fact that during his 22-year legislative career, he has a lifetime voting record of 94 percent with the Iowa Federation of Labor, and in recent legislative sessions that record is 100 percent.
“It’s an unsurpassed record of fighting for Iowa workers,” Hatch said.
Tuesday, he received the endorsement of the 18,000-member Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Building Trades Council, which previously backed Olson.
“Jack Hatch has an impressive level of experience and knowledge along with a strong record of fighting for working Iowans,” President Ray Dochterman said. “He’s the right leader to build the middle class in this state.”
But Hatch, who has operated a property development and management business he and his wife, Sonja, have for 13 years, also is seeking support from business groups.
“We don’t expect state government to provide all of the answers,” he said. “I view state government more as a partnership. Jobs are created in the private sector when you have innovation and innovation is created when you open up the opportunity. That’s where state government can really provide the best leadership.”
Although being the undisputed frontrunner makes the target on his back larger, Hatch said the governor also wears a target.
“We’re not going to hide from issues. I’ve got a voting record and I’ve got to defend that, which I can,” Hatch said.
Branstad has a record of issues he has either voted on or signed into law or vetoed, Hatch added.
“So we both have that target on our back,” he said.