Fred Hubbell won a convincing victory in the Democratic primary for governor, but now faces the task of uniting the party behind his candidacy against Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.
For more than a year, a crowded field of Democrats have vied for the support of primary voters. And while the campaign was largely civil, there still were differences on some issues and approaches between the candidates that could require fence mending.
Before Tuesday’s primary ended, former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire and former Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn made it clear they were behind Hubbell.
In a statement, McGuire congratulated Hubbell. “I look forward to joining with him as we unite our party,” she said.
But not all have immediately jumped on board.
A spokesman for Cathy Glasson, who finished second in the primary, said Wednesday the campaign’s “primary focus” now is on the June 16 Democratic Party state convention.
“Cathy and Fred talked last night and will be sitting down to have a discussion about the race and the issues,” Roger Ouellette said in an email.
In a statement Tuesday night, Glasson, the president of the Service Employees International Union, Local 199, said she has “hundreds of committed delegates” to the convention “who will continue their demands for progressive priorities in the party platform and from the candidates’ campaigns.”
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Glasson had pushed for a state-run single-payer health care plan, along with a $15 minimum wage within three years. She’d been critical of rivals who hadn’t joined her.
Remi Yamamoto, a spokeswoman for the Hubbell campaign, said the retired Des Moines businessman had talked to all but one of the Democratic candidates Tuesday night.
“It’s still less than 24 hours since results came in, and there are a lot of talks that are ongoing,” she said Wednesday afternoon. “As noted in his speech, Fred looks forward to working closely with his primary opponents behind a united vision to get Iowa growing.”
A representative for John Norris, who finished third, said he had congratulated Hubbell and “will make a statement in the coming days.”
Wilburn posted a video saying he had congratulated Hubbell and was “committed to making sure we get Terrace Hill back.” Wilburn said he’s focused on education spending and reforms to the criminal justice system. “I’m pretty confident Fred will carry on that message, and I wish him well.”
Troy Price, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, said Wednesday he believes the party will be united behind both its state and federal candidates.
“We had a spirited primary, and quite frankly that’s what we wanted to see,” he said. “At the end of the day people are united by the fact we need a new direction in Des Moines and we need a new direction in Washington. I think the party will come together.”