Branstad, Reynolds welcome 2012 candidates to ‘wide open’ Republican caucus

May 16, 2011

Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today invited current and would-be 2012 Republican presidential candidates to participate in the Iowa caucuses, citing a ‘wide-open’ field.

“Iowa is a full-spectrum state, and everyone in Iowa – including and especially evangelicals – wants someone who will articulate a message of job creation and slashing the federal debt,” said Branstad. “I have traveled to all of Iowa’s 99 counties, and the prevailing questions are on the debt and job creation. I want to welcome all current and potential 2012 presidential candidates to campaign here, meet with Iowans and participate in the full caucus process.”

Branstad also offered a rebuttal to a weekend editorial by former New Hampshire Chair Fergus Cullen, who stated, "Iowa Republicans have marginalized themselves to the point where competing in Iowa has become optional."

“Mr. Cullen could not be more wrong about Iowa,” said Branstad. “I think that as candidates campaign here, they will see a vibrant, growing Republican Party of Iowa. It is a wide open race, and we will welcome all candidates who participate here.”

Lt. Gov. Reynolds added that this is something upon which all Iowans can agree.

“Iowa has a long, proud tradition of hosting the first-in-the-nation caucus, and Iowa activists from both parties take the time to question these candidates, and get to know them in-person,” said Reynolds. “This is not a state where you only send mailers, run ads and expect to win. It takes time to visit our communities, but I think most candidates you’ll speak with find it to be a valuable, rewarding opportunity.”

Branstad and Reynolds made the comments today at their weekly news conference.