Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Iowa Republican gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad looks east when asked if he is concerned about a possible third-party candidacy by rival Bob Vander Plaats.
Past Illinois and Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania is the traditionally politically "blue" state of New Jersey, whose voters elected a Republican governor last year. GOP challenger Chris Christie defeated Democratic incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine there in 2009 despite the presence of a third-party candidate, Christopher Daggett.
"Look what happened in New Jersey last year," Branstad told CNN Saturday, before Vander Plaats lost his bid to become the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor. "They had an independent candidate and, as you got closer and closer to the election, people looked at the choice, 'You want this Corzine or do you want Chris Christie?' They went for Chris Christie."
It is unclear what Vander Plaats plans to do. He lost the gubernatorial primary on June 8, and delegates at the Iowa Republican Party State Convention on Saturday chose Branstad's handpicked running mate, state Sen. Kim Reynolds, to be the party nominee for lieutenant governor.