Sorry I that I’m a little late posting about Rep. Rod Roberts running for Governor. It seems with each new day or week another Iowa Republican lets it be known that they are interested in running for Governor in 2010.
A week or so ago Bob Vander Plaats entered the race. To date he’s the most “official” candidate out there, but he even stated that this is an exploratory committee, not an all out campaign yet. Quickly joining him were the following: Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, State Auditor Dave Vaudt, Businessman Bruce Rastetter, syndicated blogger Krusty Konservative, and now State Rep. Rod Roberts.
Robert’s is soft-spoken, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a single person under that dome that has any sort of beef with him. Everyone really likes and respects Rod, and when he speaks into the microphone, his voice is quaint but his presence looms large. He is a staunch opponent of gambling, which endears him to the right. However, he voted for the dreaded Dream Act, which has left more than a few political careers in its wake.
He is largely unknown, which is a problem for him. While he has great things to tout - anti-gambling, elected in a strong Democratic seat, evangelical conservative pastor, assistant House majority leader - he has two big things against him, namely that he has not demonstrated that he can raise any appreciable sum of money and his legislative resume is thin in terms of policy that's been enacted with his name on it. If Robert’s is serious we will probably see him flexing some legislative muscle by floor managing some serious Republican amendments.
In terms of what this means politically, it’s more bad news for Bob Vander Plaats. Bob’s announcement created very little buzz around the state and smoked out more potential candidates that I ever expected to see. Again, I think it will be difficult for Vander Plaats to gain traction with so many potential candidates lurking. I really think he would have been better off saying that he’s “all in” rather than saying it’s an exploratory campaign.
Additionally, Robert’s poses an interesting dilemma for Vander Plaats. Both are from Western Iowa, and both should play well with the social conservatives in the state. I think Vander Plaats is going to find it much more difficult to campaign against people like Roberts, Northey, or Vaudt.
Speaking of Vaudt, I wonder if he has let the Rebuild Iowa Office that he’s going to stop by for a little audit. Now that would be interesting.