Top Iowa Republican's warning to 2012 GOP hopefuls
December 2nd, 2010
09:39 AM ET
8 years ago

Top Iowa Republican's warning to 2012 GOP hopefuls

(CNN) - Iowa's Republican governor-elect has a message to fellow party members who may want to make a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination: Spend time in my state.

Gov.-elect Terry Branstad, who easily defeated Democratic Gov. Chet Culver in last month's elections, also warned potential White House hopefuls not to skip next summer's presidential straw poll.

"Not participating is certainly not a very good strategy. So I would certainly come and participate," Branstad told WHO-TV in Des Moines.

Branstad, who served four terms as Iowa's governor in the 1980s and 1990s, added that it's doubtful that he would support any candidate who didn't take part in the straw poll, which is held in Ames the summer before the Iowa caucuses. The next straw poll, which raises tens of thousands of dollars for the state party, is scheduled to be held next August.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the 2007 straw poll, but a strong second place finish by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee gave his campaign a major boost. Both Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani skipped the event and neither campaigned heavily in Iowa leading up to the state's January 2008 caucuses. Huckabee ended up winning that contest, but McCain of course captured the GOP presidential nomination.

Branstad said candidates could take a page from his successful elections for governor: "I think I've demonstrated how you can win elections in Iowa and you do it by going to all 99 counties and meeting with a lot of people and articulate a vision and plan for where you want to lead the state, or in this case, the country."

Branstand said at this point he's not sure if he'll endorse a candidate before the next caucuses, which will be held in early February 2012.

Branstand defeated Bob Vander Plaats, a conservative favorite in this year's Iowa GOP gubernatorial primary. Branstad was endorsed by Romney and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who are both considering bids for the White House. Huckabee endorsed Vander Plaats, who captured 41 percent of the primary vote against Branstad. Vander Plaats is now the head of a group that includes the Iowa Family Policy Center, Marriage Matters, and their political action committee, and hopes to have an influential role in the caucuses, which kick off the presidential primary season.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Come to Iowa, bring your wallet, we need the money.

    December 2, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. Dave

    Wow, this guy is not even governor yet and he is full of himself. Wait until the unemployed start banging at his door that his fellow republicans decided not to renew. He is going to wish the democratic governor would have won.

    December 2, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. Nobody Special

    Iowa's grasp at relevance.

    December 2, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. Anonymous

    If anybody takes Mike Huckabee serious, take the time to check what he did to my state of Arkansas. He basically gave illegal aliens a welcome home party, donating a state bldg. to the Mexican Consultate and promoted medical clinics for the care of pregnant women illegals, among other things. Then when he couldn't get attention in Arkansas anymore, he changed his residency to Florida. Put him in the same category as Palin, only interested in his celebrity status, not what he can do for his constituents.

    December 2, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Iowa cannot dictate to the rest of the US, who should or should not, be President of the US.

    Perhaps, just to make a point, no candidates should campaign there, at all.

    December 2, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. T'sah from Virginia

    They better CATCH UP with Palin – she's there as we type!!! Romney on Jay Leno appeared as a WIMP – Could not even state whether or not Sarah Palin would be a good candidate for President and Palin is SOAKING UP every bit of their sunshine in a shrewd way... LMAO!!

    Let's continue to Move America Forward with our current leader, President Obama!!

    December 2, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. REG in AZ

    When seeing the stubborn and arrogant, even cocky performances of John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyl, Sarah Palin and several others, it is completely apparent their total focus is on placating and patronizing Special Interests and the influential, powerful and extremely wealthy few who strongly support them, who ‘pull their strings’ and who then greatly benefit, while they offer the majority only apathy, the costs and an abundance of subterfuge to deceive and manipulate. Right now they are continuing to demonstrate their irresponsibility by seeking to force through the Tax Cuts for the wealthy, even to lying that it benefits the economy when it has been proven that it doesn’t and to force all other needed efforts to a stop. Their obnoxiously stubborn and belligerently arrogant concentration on the few without any regard for their responsibility to the many and their reliance on subterfuge to con and manipulate is absolutely disgusting and offensive. If the people can’t or won’t see the self-serving deception, if they fail to recognize the reality, if they ignore the con being perpetrated, then they simply are their own worst enemy and likely destined to suffer with more of the same (Bush-Cheney style) that has cost so much and produced the problems at hand. And for the people to blame anyone else is purely rationalizing and ridiculous.

    December 2, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I don't understand why people insist on calling Palin "former governor". I think it's a total insult to all Governors who took their jobs serious and fulfilled the duties in respect to those who voted them in office.

    December 2, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. diridi

    what is the big deal about this backward Iowa, and Ohio.....I don't understand....there are fifty states....more educated like NY, NJ, CA, NC, GA, PA, o.k....we need to go with flow...o.k, don't even consider these conservative crooks...o.k.

    December 2, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I think I've demonstrated how you can win elections in Iowa and you do it by going to all 99 counties and meeting with a lot of people and articulate a vision and plan for where you want to lead the state, or in this case, the country."
    Gotta give the GOPers credit where credit is due ... they with their over-bloated ego's are certainly not shy, or boastful.

    December 2, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Mikey

    Yes, spend time in Iowa, because it will have an oversized roll in picking the next candidate to get crushed by Obama. In mid 2012, unemployment will be under 7% and the President's approval rating will be in the 60's.

    December 2, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. Marge

    What I want to know is what makes this state think they can give orders to the rest of us. Why are they allowed to be the first to hold a primary. I think it is time that another state is given a chance to play "KING". After all Iowa is in no way representative of the whole of this country. It is mostly all white and mostly all republican. Or is that what the republicans want to keep going something to make them seem more important than what they are. Cause if they didn't have the illegal money from corporations flowing into their races they would never get diddly squat.

    December 2, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    More import than Mr Branstad's petty provincialism is what those would-be Presidents say when they get to Iowa–my warning is that talking about anything other than the economy will be a bad idea. It was the Democrats' truly appalling handling of economic issues that sent voters to the GOP in 2010, and if the GOP is to capitalise on that in 2012 they're going to have to offer something more than "we're not Democrats" as a campaign slogan. The GOP is going to have to convince the country that they've truly returned to philosophies of fiscal restraint and small, unobtrusive, cheap, government.

    Further, over the last decade, the GOP has earned a reputation as the party of narrow-minded, self-righteous, bible-thumping, bigots. This is highly divisive. It repels independents. It even repels a lot of (former) Republicans. If the GOP is going to succeed in 2012, it's going to have to convince the country it's abandoned theocracy as a national objective and embraced anew the concept of respect for individuals–all individuals. Even those individuals who have no use for their religion or its social mandates.

    I've little use for the modern GOP–the best I can say is that they're slightly less repugnant than the modern not-quite-socialist Democratic Party. It would be truly cool if the GOP returned to what they used to be before the neo-cons stole their name and gutted what they once stood for.

    December 2, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. AC

    Who cares about Iowa? Oh, only the Reps. When was the last time you picked a winner? Bush, remember he's not a winner! Oh, that's right, you guys make corn?

    December 2, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. Steve Oehmen

    They say the best thing to come out of Iowa is I-80. Who is this guy in particular, and Iowans in general, to demand anyone pay attention to them "or else"? One state – how many electoral votes? And they control who become the candidates? Or so they think? This is unconscionable. One state caucus and candidates are "in" or "out" or "on the ropes". Who gave up this power to control my choices in the first place?

    December 2, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |