Iowa Governor Terry Branstad held a lunchtime press conference to declare his support of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. No surprise other than it occurred more than three full months after the Iowa Caucus. Branstad represents the establishment, Romney is an establishment candidate.
He said Mitt Romney will receive the delegates he needs, and that he provides “a clear contrast to President Obama.” While yes there are some differences I disagree about the type of contrast Romney will provide. I believe the other three candidates in the race provide a greater contrast than Romney would.
Branstad said he is not seeking any role after being asked if he thinks he’ll be considered as a running mate. He said he is doing this because he loves his country. He said he loves Iowa and loves serving the people here. He thinks that Mitt Romney as President would help him be a better governor.
Obviously Governor Branstad is free to endorse whomever he likes, and Republicans outside of Iowa who have yet to vote are free to accept or ignore this endorsement. The primary process is healthy, there are many states who have yet to vote, and they deserve to have a choice. I’ll keep saying it, but this contest is not over until Romney had the delegates in hand. Then let’s have the coalescing talk, until then it is premature.
I personally doubt it will have much weight outside of Iowa. I do appreciate Governor Branstad’s neutrality during the Iowa Caucus.
Update: Branstad’s official presser
(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad today endorsed Gov. Mitt Romney for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.
Branstad says it is time for the party to come together and devote their attention to victory against President Obama as Republicans gear up for the November election.
“I purposefully withheld my endorsement until now, because I wanted my focus to be on uniting the Republican Party going into the fall.
“I want to commend all of the candidates who participated in the Iowa caucuses. Once again, Iowa did its job in winnowing the field. The top four finishers in the Iowa caucuses remain the four candidates in the race. Now, more than three months later and after a vigorous campaign, I believe the time has come to coalesce around one candidate.
“All four candidates have worked hard. All four candidates demonstrated why they would be better than the current White House occupant. I consider all four of the remaining candidates my friends, and I am proud of the campaigns they waged in Iowa. They fought hard, and shared their ideas for our country. In the end, we knew one of the top four finishers out of Iowa would be our nominee, and I am excited to elect a Republican president who got their start in Iowa.
“Now that dozens of caucuses and primaries have occurred, the process did what it was supposed to do, and that is produce the candidate who will capture the needed delegates: Mitt Romney.
“Today, I am enthusiastically endorsing Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for president. In Mitt Romney, Americans will have a clear contrast with President Obama in November. Gov. Romney is committed to cut out-of-control spending, unleash the private sector to create jobs, and ensure that future generations have the opportunities we have enjoyed due to the American free enterprise system.
“There is a lot at stake in the upcoming election, and Republicans in Iowa are energized. One need only look at the surging Republican registrations to understand how motivated our party is heading into November. Republicans are in a position to carry Iowa for just the second time since 1984, and we will not let this opportunity slip away. Mitt Romney is going to be a strong general election contender, and I will work every day to unite Republicans and attract independents and disillusioned Democrats to elect a president who will restore the American dream and unite our nation.”
I wonder, I’m not certain, but I would bet Democrats are going to make a stink out of this endorsement being made from the Iowa Statehouse, a presser being done from his Administration’s office, etc. I’m sure they had their ducks in a row, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a complaint filed.
2nd Update: I guess Branstad has great timing. I didn’t expect Rick Santorum to announce that he was suspending his campaign.