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This page is part of the RaceTracker project,
coordinated by the Elections.DailyKos.com team

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RaceTracker 2012 Congressional Election Dashboard
2012 House report  · 2012 Senate report
House: 435 seats Senate: 33 seats
GOP Dems Total GOP Dems Total
Confirmed primary challenges 5 2 7 5 5 10
Possible primary challenges 0 0 0 0 0 0
Open seats* 16 21 41 3 6 102
1. Includes Joe Lieberman, who is retiring from his Conn. senate seat.

This is the profile for the Iowa gubernatorial race. See also:


Next election:

Incumbent: Chet Culver


Name Party Status Reference URL Reference date Reference note
Chet Culver Democratic Confirmed candidate Source Culver said in June 2009 that he was excited about "cranking up" his campaign's political operation. He has had several major fundraisers this year and hired Teresa Vilmain as a campaign consultant in July 2009.
Bob Vander Plaats Republican Confirmed candidate Source Vander Plaats is a 47-year-old Sioux City businessman who sought the GOP nomination for governor in 2002 and was Jim Nussle's running mate in the 2006 gubernatorial race. He was the first to form an exploratory committee and has been campaigning actively around Iowa since the beginning of 2009. Expected to formally announce his candidacy in late summer or early fall 2009. Vander Plaats was Iowa chairman for Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign, and Huckabee headlined an Iowa fundraiser for him in June 2009. Vander Plaats is an outspoken social conservative and has promised to issue an executive order banning same-sex marriage if elected governor.
Christian Fong Republican Confirmed candidate Source Fong skipped the exploratory phase and filed papers for a gubernatorial campaign on June 30, 2009. At 32, he is the youngest candidate in the race. He works for AEGON in Cedar Rapids and has never run for office before. He has been active in flood recovery projects in the Cedar Rapids area. He has written occasionally for the conservative Hawkeye Review blog. His aspirational, not-very-partisan political rhetoric seems to borrow heavily from Barack Obama.
Chris Rants Republican Considering Source Filed papers for exploratory committee in June 2009. 41-year-old Rants was speaker of the Iowa House until Republicans lost the majority in the 2006 election. He was minority leader until November 2008, when Republicans replaced him following further losses in state legislative races. Rants has been highlighting economic issues, but in April 2009 he led efforts to bring a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to a floor vote in the Iowa House.
Paul McKinley Republican Considering Source Formed exploratory committee in July 2009. Has highlighted his experience as small business owner during the 1980s in early campaign appearances and interviews. McKinley became the Iowa Senate minority leader after the 2008 election reduced Republicans to just 18 seats in the 50-seat chamber. After the Iowa Supreme Court cleared the way for gay marriage in April 2009, many social conservatives criticized McKinley's leadership. Iowa Senate Republicans failed to file a bill banning same-sex marriage in time for the Iowa Legislature's "funnel" deadline during the 2009 session, which meant that McKinley was unable to get a floor vote on the measure before the legislature adjourned for the year.
Jerry Behn Republican Rumored (source needed) A state senator from Boone, Behn spoke at a Republican event featuring several potential gubernatorial candidates in June 2009.
Rod Roberts Republican Rumored (source needed) State Representative Roberts of Carroll spoke at the same June 2009 event that also featured Vander Plaats, Rants and Behn.
Jeff Lamberti Republican Rumored (source needed) Lamberti is a former state senator from Ankeny. He left the state legislature to run unsuccessfully against Congressman Leonard Boswell in Iowa's third district in 2006. He is from a wealthy business family and is one of the few rumors Republican candidates from central Iowa.
Terry Branstad Republican Potential (source needed) Branstad served four terms as governor from 1983-1999. He is the president of Des Moines University. Some Republicans in central Iowa have tried to recruit him to run for governor again. Branstad ruled that out in May 2009, but has made a few ambiguous comments since then, leading to speculation that he might challenge Culver after all. As a three-term incumbent, Branstad almost lost the 1994 GOP gubernatorial primary to then-Congressman Fred Grandy of Sioux City. Also, Branstad appointed two of the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices who struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in the Varnum v. Brien case.
Bill Northey Republican Out Source July 11, 2009 Northey was elected Iowa secretary of agriculture in 2006. He was rumored to be planning a gubernatorial campaign after he hired two high-profile staffers in May 2009. Northey said many times that he was considering running for governor but leaning toward running for re-election. On July 11, 2009 he hosted a Republican fundraiser and announced that he will seek another term as secretary of agriculture.
David Vaudt Republican Out Source May 18, 2009 State Auditor David Vaudt has long warned that recent budgets approved by Culver and the Democratic-controlled state legislature contained too much spending. As declining revenues caused a budget crunch in 2008 and 2009, some Republicans speculated that Vaudt would be a good challenger for Culver. However, in May 2009 Vaudt ruled out running for governor in 2010.
Mary Andringa Republican Out Source May 6, 2009 Some people in the central Iowa business community tried to recruit Andringa, the CEO of Vermeer Corporation, to run for governor. However, she told the Des Moines Register in May 2009 that she is "not pursuing the Republican nomination for Iowa’s next governor."


Primary winners: Chet Culver, Terry Branstad


Last election:



Name Party Status Reference URL Reference date Reference note


Primary winners:


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