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Branstad open to considering run-off election law change

Current law calls for runoff election if no candidate receives 35 percent of overall votes

Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday he would be willing to consider a change in Iowa’s election law whereby top vote-getters in state-level party primary races would compete in a run-off election if no one received 35 percent of the ballots in a multi-candidate field.

Currently, state law provides that the party’s nomination for an elective office is decided by delegates to the party’s state convention if no primary candidate secures at least 35 percent of the ballots cast. That situation could arise in the 2014 race for the Republican Party’s U.S. Senate nomination, with at least seven people vying for a chance to race Democratic congressman Bruce Braley in the general election one year from now.

Branstad said some cities in Iowa and some others states use run-off elections to decide the outcome when no candidate receives a plurality of votes, and he would be willing to consider that change if a proposal came before the Iowa Legislature.

“It’s something I would be willing to look at,” Branstad told his weekly news conference in response to a question from a reporter.

“I think it might make sense,” the governor said regarding a possible law change to establish run-off elections in state races in Iowa. “I’m certainly willing to look at the idea, the concept of having a runoff election, let’s say, 30 days later. I think a number of states do that.”

Branstad noted that he was part of a six-candidate field in 1982 when he made his first bid for governor and managed to avoid a state convention fight by garnering the required 35 percent needed to secure his party’s gubernatorial nomination.

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