Rev. Ratliff with Governor Culver

I was visiting with Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Center this evening as our boys played flag football.  He asked me if I heard “the news” today… I hadn’t been keeping up with the news today.  He told me that Pastor Keith Ratliff of Maple Street Baptist Church in Des Moines endorsed Bob Vander Plaats for Governor.

If you don’t know who Keith Ratliff is, you may be thinking… so?

He is a lifelong Democrat, an influential leader within the African-American community, and the President of the Iowa/Nebraska State NAACP.  That’s big.

Tom Beaumont of the Des Moines Register reports:

Keith Ratliff, president of the Iowa-Nebraska chapter of the NAACP, endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats today, citing the Sioux City businessman’s position on the same-sex marriage debate as “an important factor.”

“It’s an important factor,” Ratliff said during a morning news conference with Vander Plaats. “There’s no doubt about it, it’s an important factor.”

Ratliff, pastor of the Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, has been an outspoken critic of the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision in April legalizing gay marriage in the state.

Vander Plaats has said he would issue an executive order staying same-sex marriages in Iowa until voters had the opportunity to vote on a referendum to amend the Iowa Constitution. None of the other half-dozen GOP gubernatorial prospects have echoed Vander Plaats’ call for an executive order.

Ratliff, a registered Democrat, said there were other factors in his decision, such as his dissatisfaction with Gov. Chet Culver’s progress fixing discriminatory hiring practices unearthed under his predecessor, Gov. Tom Vilsack. Both Culver and Vilsack are Democrats.

“I believe marriage is between one man and one woman,” Ratliff said. “But I also feel there are many other issues that have to be addressed.”

Here’s the rub, I have my doubts about how influential Ratliff will be in the primary race.  This endorsement though could have enormous play in the general election should Vander Plaats win the nomination.  Needless to say if Pastor Ratliff is an indicator of the sentiment in the African-American community toward the Culver administration, Governor Chet Culver should be concerned.

5 comments
  1. I believe it will have an impact on the primary race. Ratliff will bring new voters into the fold for Bob VP in the next 8 months before the primary as he will be actively campaigning for him. A few new voters here, a few new voters there, plus the loyal base is what wins a primary.
    .-= Iowans Rock´s last blog ..Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize =-.

    1. @Iowans Rock, It may have a minor impact. It may sway some independent voters to register as Republicans to vote in the primary. I am doubtful we’ll see people switch parties to vote in the primary as a result of this endorsement though.

      I don’t know… it certainly doesn’t hurt Vander Plaats, but I am not quite as optimistic as you about the primary impact.

  2. Don’t you think that a lanky weak-looking Governor with both Houses controlled by the opposing party (and therefore impotent to get anything done legislatively) is going to be good for his cause?

    My biggest concern is that Vander Plaats wins, doesn’t accomplish anything because he’s vastly outnumber on the capitol, stays one stupid thing (which he’s already shown he’s prone to do), and the public sees a lanky, weak looking Governor they associate with the conservatism in general. It’s like McCain’s effect on the Republican party would have been in reverse…

    1. @Eric Goranson, First off… I don’t think the fact he is “lanky” has anything to do with anything. Besides he’s the model of health compared to our current government.

      Secondly… I’m not sure Democrats will have control of both Houses in 2010… not if they keep screwing up like this. Legislative Democrats have just as much blame as Culver regarding our budget mess.

      And I am Switzerland in the GOP primary 😉 so I can be free to praise and/or criticize them all. And as I have said before, Gumby himself would be a better governor than Debt Culver.

      Like I said in the post – I have my doubts about Ratliff’s primary impact.

  3. His underfed appearance, although healthier looking than Culver, unfortuantely matter in gubernatorial poltics. He doesn’t look imposing. It’s the reason Billy Graham used to eat a lb of lard per day to look bigger behind the pulpit. It matters.

    But that’s minor. My main concern is that he is too willing to say silly things in public about education, Medicaid, etc. And the Senate is unlikely to flip.

    His victory could be counterproductive. Although I’d rather see that than four more years of Culver.

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