Bob Vander Plaats Considers Independent Run for Governor

Bob Vander Plaats was a Republican candidate for Governor of Iowa in 2010, but he lost the Republican primary with 40.3%–the primary winner, Terry Branstad, won with 50.4%.

News broke Thursday that a meeting had occurred between Vander Plaats and GOP gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad. At that meeting, Vander Plaats, who finished second in the GOP gubernatorial primary, apparently asked for a spot on the ticket, an idea that was rejected. That rejection opened the door for a potential third-party run for governor this fall.

Several sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Iowa Independent this week that Vander Plaats is seriously considering a run, with the chances of him entering the race at about 50/50. Since the rumors became public, Vander Plaats had repeatedly refused comment to the media, but the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s James Lynch reports he did send a text message to one of his advisers stating his immediate priorities as, “to unite the party, defeat Chet Culver and ensure leadership 4 IA.”

On primary night, Vander Plaats stopped short of endorsing Branstad, instead saying he would sit down with the former governor and try to hammer out differences. In an interview with The Iowa Independent, he said “If I planned an independent run, I wouldn’t be meeting with Gov. Branstad.” He also dismissed the idea of an independent campaign several times during the hotly contested primary, most visibly during one of the three gubernatorial debates.

“When asked at the debate, ‘Will you run as an independent,’ he said no. That is a complication,” said Salier, who endorsed Vander Plaats in the primary. “How do you justify that answer? If you were so set in your answer then, how do you turn around and maintain your principled positions when perhaps people voted for you based upon that?”

Liberal blogger John Deeth pointed out a message sent to supporters by Vander Plaats that was “not exactly the message of reconciliation Branstad was hoping for.” In it, Vander Plaats never mentioned endorsing his former primary rival, and instead urged supporters to “continue visiting my Facebook page regularly as I will keep sharing commentary and important information with you.”

And many of Vander Plaats’ biggest supporters, including the influential Christian group Iowa Family Policy Center and state lawmaker Kent Sorenson, promised on primary night that they would not endorse or assist Branstad’s candidacy for governor.

There is no sore loser law on the books in Iowa, so Vander Plaats is not prevented from running for Governor as an independent.

7 thoughts on “Bob Vander Plaats Considers Independent Run for Governor

  1. Another Green Party Conservative

    I think he should do it. Or maybe he should join the Green Party. He woul dbe a great addition to the Green Party Conservative movement.

  2. Steve

    Oh man, I got scooped on an Iowa story, I need to get on my horse and send you some more.

    I’d put the chances of this happening much lower than 50/50. Vander Plaats has essentially been running for governor for the last decade, he ran in the primary in 2002 and 2010 and dropped a bid in exchange for the LG spot in 2006. Most of his supporters are the type that like to cry and moan when they don’t get their way within the GOP but then shrug their shoulders and dutifully vote for the nominee in November.

    As for mid-major parties, Vander Plaats might be close to the Constitution Party, but he’s pretty much a single issue candidate with gay bashing being his issue. It would be interesting to see how the law would apply to independent candidates since I think he could get the 2% needed in a general election to qualify as a major party.

  3. Paul Baresel

    I have had the interesting pleasure of meeting Mr. Vander Plaats and to say that he is unlikable may be an understatement. After all, he was out charmed by the colorless Doug Gross back in 2002 and out maneuvered by the hapless Jim Nussle in 2006.

    However, Vander Plaats has a very strong backing in Western Iowa and, if Branstad selects a pro-choice moderate like Vermeer Corporation CEO Mary Andringa for Lt. Governor, he could do very well in Western Iowa.

  4. The Right Guy

    If Rod Roberts had not run, may have been a horse race. Branstad is a mush in the middle RINO and he must have hubris and be a narcissist to think he deserves a 5th term. He makes FDR look meek. We don’t need people like that, but Iowans seem to be afraid of change, so they usually pick the person that is in the middle, where there is very little possibility of change. It’s too bad.

    While I supported Vander Plaats, he wasn’t the ideal candidate either. I am more of a libertarian and to be honest, Jonathan Narcisse was the most libertarian candidate early on, and he is a democrat. That’s how screwed up the politics in Iowa are. The only answer I can come up with is the lack of diversity in Iowa, on many levels.

  5. Steve

    Actually, the most libertarian candidate is the Libertarian candidate, Dr. Eric Cooper. Jonathan Narcisse has some good ideas but he has no clue about politics outside the major parties. 2% for Dr. Cooper to secure ballot access for a real alternative party is much more valuable to the cause than Narcisse promising to win then getting 5%.

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