Branstad bats at Braley's balloon

Des Moines Register scribe Kathie Obradovich notes that Gov. Terry Branstad took a poke at a recent report that Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley may have interest in a gubernatorial run:

“Ask him the last time a congressman was elected governor in this state,” he said, just after the taping of Iowa Press. Braley is scheduled to appear on the Iowa Public Television program next weekend.

Obradovich, helpfully, provides us and the governor an answer. It was Nathan Kendall, a Republican who served in Congress from 1909 to 1913 and was elected governor in 1920. Now you know.

Branstad is right, of course. Congress is remarkably unpopular. All Branstad would have to do in a campaign against Braley is point to the state's good fiscal health, point to the federal government's fiscal condition, not to mention its now chronic Congressional dysfunction, and say, which one do you like better? Democrats may say it's unfair to blame Braley, and they might have a point. But they did roughly the same thing to Jim Nussle in 2006. And "It 's not my fault" isn't exactly a winning slogan.

I honestly think Braley knows this and won't risk a run against Branstad. It's not that I think Branstad is absolutely unbeatable under any circumstance, it's just that being in Congress, at this point, means being dipped in a big vat of un-electable when it comes to seeking an office such as governor. That may change, but likely not by next year. And with the debt ceiling, sequestration, etc., it could get even worse.

Part of me would like to see a Branstad-Braley race. It would be a lot more interesting than what we're probably going to get. But I doubt it's going to happen.

And that's probably good news for Cedar Rapids. We have some serious irons in the federal fire, so the last thing we need is a part-time congressman running for governor.

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