Branstad returns to governor’s seat


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Terry Branstad is back in the governor’s seat.

The Republican candidate will return to the position for his fifth term after an 11-year hiatus.

Democratic incumbent Chet Culver called Branstad to “graciously concede” the race for governor Tuesday night before all precincts were reported, Branstad said in his victory speech Tuesday night.

Culver took the lead as the first precincts came in, but the vote quickly turned around. With 1,465 of 1,774 districts reporting, Branstad had 52 percent of the vote, and Culver 44 percent. In Johnson County, Culver received 62 percent of the vote, Branstad 35.

Tim Albrecht, a spokesman for the Branstad campaign, said campaign members were excited about the victory.

“We are ready to put this state back on track,” he said. “The people have spoken, and tomorrow the hard work begins.”

Branstad was Iowa’s longest-serving governor, from 1983 and 1999, serving as president of Des Moines University during his absence.

When Branstad left office, Iowa had a record high employment rate and a $900 million surplus, but some have accused him of using misleading accounting techniques.

The University of Iowa College Republicans celebrated the victory with the Johnson County Republicans at the Mariannette Miller-Meeks party in the Kinnick press box.

UI College Republicans President Natalie Ginty said she is happy to see the Republicans back in control in the governor’s office.

“Hopefully, it will lead to all the things we were promised in the campaign,” she said.

In October 2009, Branstad retired from Des Moines University to explore running for governor. He formally announced his candidacy in January.

In June, Branstad announced Republican Iowa Sen. Kim Reynolds as his running mate.

“I’m more excited about the job ahead than I was when I first stood in this position,” Branstad said in his victory speech last night.

“I think it’s great news for the Republicans, but I feel it’s great news for the state of Iowa that two such gifted people have taken public office,” said Bob Anderson, chairman of the Johnson County Republicans, referring also to Charles Grassley’s victory in the Senate.

In the final days leading up to the election, the University of Iowa Democrats went door-to-door and made phone calls within the community.

Neither the Johnson County Democrats nor the UI Democrats could be reached for comment Tuesday night.

In his concession speech, Culver said he was proud of his team’s record, noting they were raised the minimum wage, overturned Iowa’s ban on stem-cell research, and raised teachers’ pay in Iowa to the national average.

Other items on Culver’s track record include the Smoke Free Air Act, the I-JOBS initiative, and expanding health care for uninsured Iowa children.

“It has been a great privilege and honor to serve the people in Iowa,” Culver said in his speech.

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