Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reynolds Rap: GOP Talking Up Lieutenant Governor

UPDATE: Never mind.

I've been having fun for some time scaring my lefty friends here in the People's Republic of Johnson County with the notion of Steve King running for US Senate.

But if you slip a few drops of Veritaserum in my morning pumpkin juice and I'll admit what desmoinesdem has been saying all along: not happening. King may be crazy but he ain't stupid. The Dems threw everything they had at him last year and still came up short. He can settle into the House for as long as he wants, defeating Some Dude level opposition every couple years. Or he can risk it all in a tough Senate race.

State Republicans seem to be reaching that conclusion, too, and by the standards of a US Senate race it's getting very late in the game. A couple posts in the last couple days have turned the focus to Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Craig Robinson leads today with that factoid I keep bringing up: the Iowa-Mississippi He Man Woman Haters Club. It'd drive Iowa Democrats insane if we finally break out of that club with a Republican, but since the Liz Mathis and Staci Appel dropouts I don't see any serious efforts on our team.

Under, The Golden Gnome also sees a Reynolds candidacy, and anticipates a primary with Secretary of State Matt Schultz: "Schultz and Reynolds will no doubt be in a race to announce sooner than the other to add pressure on whoever is slow to pull the trigger. Neither is likely to poke Steve King in the eye by announcing prior to his inevitable decision to not run himself." The post has lots of juicy gossip and factional factoids as well.

One advantage Reynolds would have over Schultz is a backup plan. Almost all of the statewide office holders are on the same June 2014 primary ballot as the Senate race. If Schultz runs for Senate, he gives up his current job.

The lone exception is lieutenant governor. That job is nominated AFTER the primary at the state party convention. Traditionally, that means the gubernatorial nominee makes the pick. So Reynolds could run and lose, yet Branstad could keep her in the job, assuming he can get her through a Bob Vander Plaats-Rand Paul dominated convention like he did in 2010.

Of course, if Reynolds would win a Senate primary, then it would be up and out. And tangent: has there ever been less surprising news than the Harkin Endorses Braley event on Saturday?

Terry Branstad and Matt Schultz have never really been that close. The governor at best has given lip service to Schultz's signature issue, voter ID. Branstad knocked his socks off for attorney general challenger Brenna Findley in 2010, but barely lifted a finger for Schultz and even hired the man Schultz beat, Mike Mauro.

Meanwhile, he's given Reynolds a very high profile for a lieutenant governor, with constant joint appearances. So it seems likely that given a Schultz-Reynolds primary, he's at least tacitly, maybe even explicitly, support Reynolds. And even in a polarized party, the governor's help counts for something.

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