Reynolds-Corbett governor race developing nasty edge

'It's been one nastygram after another'

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Although flattered that his opponents’ supporters are paying attention to him, GOP gubernatorial hopeful Ron Corbett called social media accounts attacking him a “sad but predictable next step from a campaign that wants to stick with politics and business as usual.”

“He started it,” responded Nick Ryan, whose Concordia Group is running the Empower Iowa Fund’s Facebook and @WrongCorbett Twitter account.

“I’ve been disappointed by the negative tone Ron has taken,” Ryan said. “It’s been one nastygram after another.”

Corbett acknowledged he’s been critical of Reynolds, who became governor in late May when Gov. Terry Branstad resigned to become ambassador to China.

“I’ve challenged Gov. Reynolds on issues, including her borrowing money at a rate outpacing even Chet Culver while taking no action to address the root causes of Iowa’s budget woes,” he said Thursday afternoon. “Iowans deserve a serious discussion about real issues that impact our state.”

He expressed disappointment that in her first 100 days in officer her greatest accomplishment was the selection of a new license plate design.

That prompted this tweet from @WrongCorbett: “While ‘Negative Ron’ has been badmouthing @KimReynoldsIA she has been working to get 4,000 jobs for the city he is mayor of. Sad,” was the first post on the Twitter.

“I’m struck by the irony that at the same time he’s saying that, shucks, her and her economic development department are trying to lock land for the biggest jobs deal for the city he’s mayor of,” Ryan said, referring to Iowa attempts to land a 4,000-job Toyota plant. “I know it’s politics, but it’s unfortunate.”

Corbett also was critical of Empower Iowa’s use of “dark money,” which according to OpenSecrets.org, refers to political spending meant to influence the decision of a voter, where the donor is not disclosed and the source of the money is unknown.

“Calling in these type of faceless dark money groups to attack Ron is clear proof they take him seriously as a candidate and a contender,” a campaign spokesman said. Corbett has challenged Reynolds not to accept money from the “DC Swamp … special interest groups, and establishment insiders.”

Corbett is an “idiot” and a “hypocrite,” Ryan said, because he’s been involved with two “dark money” organizations — the Clean Water Partnership and his Engage Iowa think tank.

The Corbett campaign called that “beneath the dignity of Iowa voters” and is why he challenged Reynolds not to take “DC Swamp” money.

The campaign also said Corbett has no regrets participating in groups that have worked with Iowa farm groups to champion water quality.

The campaign also pointed out Empower Iowa’s hypocrisy in using a photo of Corbett talking to President Barack Obama, which has been cropped so Gov. Terry Branstad is not shown. The mayor and the governor were meeting with Obama to discuss federal assistance for flood protection. Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst also have meet with the president to seek flood protection funding, Crowley noted.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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