Thursday, August 05, 2010

Vander Plaats, Independent Candidate for Governor?

VP Staying Out: If Sioux City business consultant and 3-time Republican candidate for governor, Bob Vander Plaats, is about to announce he is running for a fourth time, it would surprise the Republicans I talked with today/tonight. Vander Plaats has said previously he would consider running as an Independent. He released a second brief news release tonight saying he would have an event Friday morning at 10:30 at the Iowa Judicial Courts Building. Here's the release:


Bob Vander Plaats will hold a news conference in front of the Iowa Judicial Building, located at 1111 E. Court Ave., at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Aug. 6.

Here are the two biggest questions I kept hearing: After losing three times already, where would he find the new support he needs to win a race for governor this fall? Where would he find the money that it would take?

Perhaps, he is going to announce that he is endorsing Republican Terry Branstad's campaign? If that's the case, Branstad's campaign has said nothing about a joint appearance tomorrow. Surely, Branstad would stand alongside Vander Plaats if he is getting the endorsement, right?

Perhaps, the location is a clue, since we are just days removed from the California court ruling against Proposition 8, the state's ban against same-sex marriage. Could Vander Plaats be helping to lead an effort against the Supreme Court justices whose ruling legalized same-sex marriages in Iowa? Voters decide in November whether to retain them (that includes Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, Michael Steit and David Baker).

What do you think?

Mauro Money: Iowa Secretary of State Mike Mauro released a report on his office's work over the past year. The budget keeps getting cut since Chet Culver became governor (he used to be sec. of state before becoming gov). But the office report shows it is accomplishing more with less. In light of that, will taxpayers think the budget-whacking has actually been a good thing? Here's the release:
Spending is down, revenue is up in the Secretary of State’s Office

Des Moines – The Office of the Iowa Secretary of State spent fewer taxpayer dollars, brought in more revenue to the state, processed more transactions and employed fewer people in the fiscal year that ended June 30, Secretary of State Michael A. Mauro reported today in his annual report to the citizens of Iowa.

Secretary Mauro reported that his office spent $3,523,448 in Fiscal Year 2010, down from the $3,806,932 spent in Fiscal Year 2009. At the same time, Mauro reported that in the latest fiscal year the office took in $5,886,594 in fees which is up from $3,107,163 a year earlier. Mauro also reported that his office now employs 30 full-time workers, down from 38 a year ago and from 35 when he took office.

"I'm proud to report that we have continued to be responsive and accessible to all Iowans and Iowa businesses while operating with fewer people and less money," Mauro said. "We've dug in and done more than our share while handling hundreds of thousands of transactions for Iowans."

The Office of the Secretary of State oversees elections as well as processes business filings. Mauro noted that his office saved the state $300,000 to $500,000 annually by bringing the state's voter registration database in-house. He also said the office worked to save communities more than $1 million by working with the Legislature to move school elections to every other year. In addition, he noted, during his term he worked with the Legislature to set an election calendar that consolidates dates of special elections, again saving communities a significant amount of tax dollars. Mauro further said that his office has secured $3,316,103 in federal money in the past three years that was used to help make polling places accessible to all eligible voters, maintain Iowa’s voter registration database, and train local election officials.

"We have fought – and continue to fight – to create real savings for Iowa taxpayers while generating increased revenue for the state treasury," Secretary Mauro said. "This annual statement to Iowans demonstrates that over the past three years we've been able to continue to provide high quality services with fewer resources."

The following is a summary of key statistics over the four most recent fiscal years.

BUDGET (state appropriation plus refunds and reimbursements)
Fiscal 2007: $3,164,839
Fiscal 2008: $3,418,868
Fiscal 2009: $3,806,932
Fiscal 2010: $3,523,569

Fiscal 2007: $3,463,357
Fiscal 2008: $6,180,315
Fiscal 2009: $3,107,163
Fiscal 2010: $5,886,594

July 1, 2007: 36
July 1, 2008: 38
July 1, 2009: 38
July 1, 2010: 30

2007: 77,020
2008: 170,413
2009: 67,210
2010: 140,686 (first six months only)

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