Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – An effort to force Iowa’s Republican gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad to choose a formal rival as his running mate failed Saturday but exposed a rift in the GOP that could potentially help Democrats in November.
Branstad’s hand-picked candidate for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Kim Reynolds, defeated Bob Vander Plaats at the Iowa Republican Party State Convention. Vander Plaats lost to Branstad in the gubernatorial primary earlier this month.
On Friday, Vander Plaats would not rule out an independent run for governor if he failed to win the lieutenant governor’s nomination. It was unclear if Vander Plaats would address the convention Saturday following his loss to Reynolds.
If Vander Plaats launches a third party run, it could siphon votes away from Branstad, who is running against Democratic Gov. Chet Culver. Even if Vander Plaats decides not to run, some of his supporters told CNN that they will not vote for Branstad in November.