Just in from Representative Chris Rants (R-Sioux City):

Today I am ending my campaign for the office of Governor. I’ve enjoyed meeting and learning from so many Iowans I’ve encountered on my 54,346 mile journey around our state. It has been a rewarding experience for me, and I hope that I’ve given my fellow Republicans some ideas to consider as they shape an agenda for the 2010 election.

Last fall it became evident that my campaign was a long shot. I continued out of a belief that campaigns should be about issues and ideas, and it was worth the effort to shape the public debate around issues that concern my supporters and me. It is now clear that those opportunities for such a debate are not materializing, and I cannot in good conscience accept or solicit support for an effort I know will be ultimately unsuccessful.

I want to thank everyone who has supported my campaign. From contributors who wrote checks, to supporters who wrote to me with words of encouragement; I can’t express enough my appreciation for your support.

Most of all, I especially want to thank my family, who for the last eighteen years has graciously given me the opportunity to pursue my political aspirations, and far too often shared precious family time with constituent demands.

At the start of this campaign I said it was “up or out.” That hasn’t changed. I honestly don’t know what the future holds for me, except that there will be no more missed school concerts, plays or gymnastics tournaments.

I regret that I leave the legislature this year feeling more troubled about the future of our state that I can remember. I describe it as a perfect storm descending upon our state of school equity challenges, a declining business climate, and massive property tax increases on the horizon. I wish my fellow gubernatorial candidates, and returning legislators the best of luck in protecting Iowans from the dangers that will befall them if nothing is done. As always, the first step is to recognize the danger.

The good news is that there is still time. If Iowa’s leaders will return to the principles that once made us great; a limited government and unfettered free enterprise, our children can enjoy a brighter future.

Walter Lippmann, the Pulitzer prize winning author, once wrote, “the final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and will to carry on.” My final hope is that I passed the test.

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