DES MOINES (MCT) – Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds is Gov. Terry Branstad’s choice for 2014 running mate, but he left nothing to chance by actively urging his supporters to attend Tuesday’s caucuses and become delegates who will vote to fill the No. 2 slot on the GOP ticket at this summer’s Republican state convention.
“She has been a great partner,” Branstad told his weekly news conference, brushing aside speculation as “not true” that she might face a challenge when she is up for re-nomination later this year. Reynolds earned her spot on the 2010 ticket and he expects her to do so again this year.
“It’s up to the people of Iowa to decide who they want to represent them,” Branstad said.
Reynolds, 54, a former county treasurer auditor and state senator, was Branstad’s pick as his lieutenant four years ago, but she still had to overcome a challenge by Bob Vander Plaats – an unsuccessful primary candidate for governor – at the party’s state convention to secure her No. 2 place on the GOP statewide ballot.
Branstad, 67, a five-term incumbent, said he and Reynolds were well received during their statewide 2014 announcement tour last week and he believes they will lead what potentially could be a strong non-presidential year election outcome for Republicans in November.
“We don’t take anything for granted,” Branstad said. “We’re grassroots people and we recognize that we are servants of the people and it is the convention that has the right to choose the nominee and we want to earn the support.”
Reynolds, who considered a 2014 U.S. Senate bid but decided instead to seek re-election with Branstad as lieutenant governor, said she has received positive feedback from Iowans about the job the current administration is doing as she travels the state to visit all 99 counties each year.
“The response we’re getting is encouraging,” she said.
“But we’re not done. There’s a lot of great work to do yet and so we’re fired up and ready and energized to go out there and work hard to be reelected,” she told reporters.
During a campaign event at Diamond V in Cedar Rapids last week, Branstad doused speculation that he might step down midway through a sixth term if he wins re-election next November to clear the way for Reynolds to serve as governor and be in a strong position to seek re-election in 2018.
Branstad said “it’s my intention” to serve the full four years if Iowans give him an unprecedented sixth term.
The GOP governor also said he likes how the 2014 election is shaping up and he expected Republicans can pick up support from independents and disaffected Democrats unhappy with the way things are going under President Obama’s leadership.
“We’re very hopeful, 2014 has the potential to be a great Republican year,” Branstad said.
“This is a very important election and we want a strong, revitalized party,” he added.
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