While recruiting this year has proved to be nearly impossible this cycle for the Republican Party in Iowa, 2010 will be the komplete opposite. Republicans kould be looking at a huge gubernatorial primary, and if Steve King tosses his hat into that ring, all of a sudden Republicans will be having a big primary out west. Below are 12 people to keep an eye on as the 2010 cycle nears.
12. Don DeWaay
DeWaay is the owner of DeWaay Capital Management in West Des Moines. While he has given to Republican candidates is the past, he’s not known in many Republican circles statewide. DeWaay does have some name ID as he used to do The Profit Zone on WHO Radio. So why does he come in at number 12? First, I think Republicans are looking for some new blood in Iowa, and secondly with his business background he might be a good fit to come in and clean up Culver’s mess. He’s also hired some people with political konnections which might signal he is looking to do something.
11. Jeff Ballenger
Ballenger is a businessman from Council Bluffs. I think it’s safe to say that if King runs for Governor, Ballenger will probably run for Kongress. Ballenger ran against and lost to Steve King in the 2002 Congressional Primary. I think it would be difficult for him to run statewide, but he proved in his kongressional campaign he is willing to spend some of his own money on a kampaign.
10. Former Senator Stewart Iverson
If you talk to 10 people, you will get 10 different answers on what Stewart Iverson motivation was for taking over Ray Hoffmann’s final year as Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. Some say he needed a gig (i.e. paycheck) before he can be a lobbyists in Des Moines, while others think he might be konsidering a run for Governor. I have no clue. What he did do is create speculation and that’s always good if you want to run for office.
9. Former Representative Bill Dix
Dix ran for Congress in 2006 and lost a three-way primary to Mike Whalen. Dix is a likable guy and probably a better kandidate on state issues than federal issues. While he is known well in eastern Iowa he would have a lot of work to do to get known state wide.
8. Mike Whalen
Like Dix, Whalen is probably a better state candidate than a federal candidate. Whalen has deep pockets and would be one of the best fundraisers for a gubernatorial kampaign on this list. He’s known in many areas in the state, especially eastern Iowa where he ran for kongress, but his Des Moines connections would be invaluable in a gubernatorial race. Whalen owns the Machine Shed Restaurants, hotels, and other restaurants in Des Moines, and was the driving force in bringing a Bass Pro Shop to Altoona which is a big deal.
7. Former Senator Jeff Lamberti
Lamberti showed off his fundraising abilities in his 2006 race against Leonard Boswell. Lamberti ran an excellent kampaign and would be one of the favorites if he decided to run for Governor. His most recent project was bringing back the Iowa Barnstormers to Des Moines. He is well liked and impressive. I don’t think he is finished with politics.
6. Bob Vander Plaats
I truly believe that if Mike Huckabee wasn’t so successful in Iowa Vander Plaats wouldn’t be on this list. Vander Plaats involvement in the Huckabee campaign gave him a new lease on his political life. I still think it’s going to be difficult for him to konvince people that the third time is the charm, but he has a following. As with the other Western Iowa kandidates, if King runs Vander Plaats might opt to run for Congress.
5. Bruce Rastetter
If you ask me, Bruce Rastetter is laying the ground work for a gubernatorial run in 2010. Rastetter is the owner of Hawkeye Renewables an Iowa ethanol producer. His resume is impressive and would make a solid candidate, and he has the ability to finance his kampaign if he needed to, but his personal connections to some of the GOP’s largest contributors might not make that necessary. He also might be the only kandidate ever in Iowa history to have inroads with both the University of Iowa, and Iowa State. Rastetter, a Hawkeye fan has giving Iowa State millions of dollars for an agricultural entrepreneurship program the University.
4. Former Senator Chuck Larson, Jr.
As mentioned before there are already rumors that some influential people have been encouraging Larson to run. Larson is the former Golden Boy of Iowa Republican politics, a State Rep, State Senator, State Party Chairman, and Iraqi War Veteran who has been involved in efforts to support our troops. Larson is currently the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia. Larson is from Cedar Rapids but also have great konnections in Des Moines.
3. U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker
Whitaker ran unsuccessfully for State Treasurer in 2002 and is a former Iowa Hawkeye football player. Whitaker is a likable family guy who also has a konservative following. Whitaker’s position as U.S. Attorney gives him a unique position in which to launch a kampaign. While the case against Democrat Senator Matt McCoy blew up in his face last year, his work on the CITEC scandal might make him the kandidate that will clean up government.
2. State Representative Christopher Rants
Rants has the advantage of sounding off against Chet Culver and the Democrats everyday. And I must say if he takes back control of the Iowa House this fall he is going to be one of the front runners for the GOP nomination. With his stints and Majority Leader, Speaker, and now Minority Leader, Rants has built a strong donor network that is needed to run statewide. He also brings a lot of name identification with him. However if he doesn’t pick up seats in November, he’s probably off the list.
1. Kongressman Steve King
I guess you could call him the King pin in what’s going to happen in the 2010 gubernatorial primary. If he runs, he’s the favorite of the activist, and everyone on this list would have second thoughts about challenging King in a statewide primary. He will kontrol the party activist, but his only koncern will be raising the money needed. But if he polls well and it looks like he’s going to win the money will kome. King is the rare breed who is well versed in state and federal issues, and he will probably out work every candidate to boot. He’s the guy everyone else is looking at, what he does will have a huge impact on the 2010 gubernatorial primary.