Jonathan Narcisse, former Des Moines School board member and publisher of The Iowa Bystander (the oldest African-American newspaper west of the Mississippi), whom I’ve been able to sit down with a couple of times announced his intention to challenge incumbent Governor Chet Culver in the Democratic primary.

He also plans as an independent if he does not win the Democratic nomination.  The Des Moines Register reports:

Democrat Jonathan Narcisse kicked off his campaign for governor Saturday, promising bold new ideas and claiming incumbent Gov. Chet Culver can’t win re-election this fall.

Narcisse, 46, a former Des Moines School Board member, said he will oppose Culver in the Democratic primary in June. In addition, he vowed to run in November’s general election as an independent if he loses his party’s nomination.

Narcisse pledged to fight for “small, effective accountable government that will be able to advance a low tax, free-market economy that will restore the greatness of our education system.” He said he favored allowing Iowans to vote on statewide ballot issues regarding same-gender marriage and the legalization of marijuana.

…He pledged to fight childhood obesity, reduce state sales taxes and stimulate Iowa’s economy by helping family-owned businesses. He said he opposes government subsidies for grain-based ethanol fuels.

Narcisse said the “harsh political reality” is that Culver can’t beat former Gov. Terry Branstad, who is campaigning for the Republican nomination in an effort to return to office. An Iowa Poll released two weeks ago showed only 36 percent of Iowans approved of Culver’s job performance.

This is the first time an African-American has run for Governor in Iowa.  Also the last time an incumbent governor has faced a primary challenger was former Governor Terry Branstad.

Looking at what he’s running on it is hard to picture in the Democratic primary, but it should make for some interesting debates provided Culver agrees to it.

Craig Robinson at The Iowa Republican points out that while it may be hard to picture Narcisse running as a Democrat with his positions, he is certainly not a stranger to Democratic politics:

He supported Governor Culver in 2006 and voted for President Obama in the last election. He has also served as the Co-Chair of the Polk County Democratic Party and is the former chair of the Iowa Commission on the Status of African-Americans (ICSSA).

His biggest challenge at the moment is to get the 4,145 signatures that is needed by March 19th to be able to be placed on the primary ballot.  Then fundraising as Culver has plenty of money for a primary challenge

Something tells me he isn’t the primary challenger for Culver that Ed Fallon had in mind :).  I don’t think he has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the primary, but it could give him some exposure he needs prior to the general election.

I really, really hope he gets to debate Culver that would be entertaining as Narcisse is a very capable debater.  So I can’t imagine Culver’s campaign agreeing to one.  Anyway, it’ll be fun, and who says politics isn’t fun?

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