A long-time Iowa Democratic operative says Tom Vilsack’s decision to remain as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture rather than run for governor in 2014 opens the door for other Democrats who’ve been thinking about the race. Jeff Link heads a consulting firm based in Des Moines.
State Representative Tyler Olson, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids who is serving as chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, has said he’s considering the idea of running for congress or for governor in 2014. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs said last week he’ll decide by the end of this summer whether he’ll run for governor. State Senator Jack Hatch of Des Moines says the announcement from Vilsack doesn’t change his plan to go on a three-month “listening tour” around the state before making a final decision about running for governor. Link suggests the Democratic gubernatorial primary will be a sort of “jump ball” and a lack of statewide name recognition won’t be a hindrance to the candidates, just as it wasn’t an impediment to Tom Vilsack in 1998.
Republican Terry Branstad has been raising money and is expected to seek a sixth term as governor in 2014. No other Iowa governor has served longer than Branstad and, if he does win a sixth term, Branstad would become the nation’s longest-serving governor.