The fourth Democrat to join the primary race for the right to compete in Iowa’s gubernatorial general election visited Creston Saturday.
Paul Dahl, 49, of Webster City, spent a majority of the morning shaking hands with Crestonians at various coffee shops and popular breakfast stops.
“I think I’m the only candidate among the democrats that can take on Branstad out in the rural areas,” Dahl said.
Currently working as a transit bus driver in Webster City, Dahl also has experience as an adjunct professor at Iowa Central Community College, librarian and pastor.
“I want to be known as the candidate who is Mr. Ethics,” Dahl said.
Dahl is campaigning against fellow democrats Tyler Olsen, Jack Hatch and Bob Krause. He is the only one of the four without state legislative experience, but did run for a congressional seat in 1994 in Iowa’s former 5th district.
“I don’t think that is a weakness,” Dahl said. “Being a state legislator is different than being a governor.”
He also claims voters will see him do more with less money spent on the campain trail.
“I’m running my campaign right now as if this was a general election,” Dahl said. “You will not see me change my positions. I’m running as a moderate democrat.”
Dahl is the only one of the four democrats in the primary to live on all four of Iowa’s congressional districts. He even spent half of a year working at a Creston middle school as a librarian and study hall monitor in 1988-89.
One of Dahl’s major focal points of his campaign is Iowa’s school system.
“Iowa’s strength is our education system, but I think personally, I graduated from high school back in ‘83, I think our schools are not as strong as they used to be,” Dahl said.
He also wants to emphasize an “agricultural revitalization” with more farmers and smaller farms, as well as diversifying Iowa’s crop and livestock production.
“I think we need to bring buffalo back to Iowa,” Dahl said. “I really have a problem with agribusinesses that hire contract farmers to raise their animals because I think we need to have independent farmers raising the animals.”
Raising Iowa’s minimum wage and abolishing the corporate income tax — except for businesses with five or less employees — would also be on his agenda as Iowa’s governor.
Despite recently announcing his campaign, Dahl is already making waves with his competitors after their first meeting in Johnston County on Oct. 12.
“I brought up concerns I had about other candidates,” Dahl said. “Some democrats have already told me I went over the line.”
The primary election is June 3, 2014, with the general election slated for Nov. 4, 2014. Incumbent Gov. Terry Branstad has not announced if he will be seeking re-election.
If Branstad runs for re-election and wins, he will be the longest serving state governor in United States history.