The nation’s longest-serving state attorney general and state treasurer have endorsed longtime lawmaker challenging the longest-serving governor.
Democrats Attorney General Tom Miller and Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald endorsed Sen. Jack Hatch’s bid to unseat Gov. Terry Branstad Monday. They cited his persistence, forward thinking and business acumen as reasons for him to replace Gov. Terry Branstad.
“You know, you don’t think of liberal Democrats as successful businessmen,” said Miller. “But that’s a very nice combination, I would say. Certainly it has worked well for Jack and it would work well for the state to have someone who believes in his kinds of beliefs but also has a great deal of business sense.”
Hatch has been a leader on a number of progressive issues over the years, Fitzgerald said, including health care and health care for children.
“He has a very ambitious agenda, but he always understands that we must maintain the financial integrity of state, maintaining a balanced budget, maintaining our AAA bond rating,” the treasurer said.
Miller and Fitzgerald each have served 31 years and are seeking re-election. Hatch has served in the Iowa House and Senate 22 years and Branstad is in his fifth term as governor.
Fitzgerald and Miller said Hatch’s tenure has made it possible for him to stick with issues over time to see changes enacted.
“He’s never been deterred by a setback of one kind or another,” Miller said. “He always keeps going.
“Some of the things that people thought couldn’t happen did happen because Jack held in there and worked on those issues,” he said, citing the state’s children’s health care plan and last year’s Medicaid expansion.
Hatched welcomed the support from the longtime officeholders and said it will be important to the state that “old-timers … continue to think and provide leadership.
“They lead from the front just like I plan on doing,” he said at a Statehouse news conference. “I think the criticism of Gov. Branstad is that he not the leader front the front. He’s the leader from back in the pack.”
In addition to his progressive agenda, Hatch said as governor he would “bring a real knowledge of the entrepreneurial spirit.”
He and his wife, Sonja, had developed more than $100 million worth of commercial property and affordable housing in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Hatch said.
“We built this company from nothing,” he said, so he understands how state government policies affect small business.
“I know what it means when we raise any kind of fee … to pay extraordinary fees and premiums for health insurance … to go through the regulations that other companies have to go through and I know when, maybe, government has gone too far,” Hatch said.
For the Branstad campaign, the emphasis will continue to be on job growth and the governor’s priorities that have been enacted not law.
The Branstad and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, “will continue to emphasize their record of creating more than 130,000 jobs, instituting historic education reforms and a tuition freeze for Iowa's students, and signing into law the largest property tax cut in state history,” according to spokesman Tommy Schultz.
In a recent Public Policy Polling poll, Branstad was leading Hatch 48 percent to 36 percent, numbers the pollster said “aren’t terribly impressive” for a four-term incumbent being challenged by a Democrat with 31 percent name ID across the state.