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Terry Branstad: 11 Going on 14?

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Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad, the longest-serving governor in the history of the country (excluding pre-U.S. Constitution governors), has served as chief executive of the Hawkeye State for 6,749 days through July 4th (18 years, 5 months, 24 days). That means he has been governor for 11.1 percent of the 60,820 days since Iowa achieved statehood on December 28, 1846. Once Branstad finishes his current term on January 13, 2015, his 7,307 days in office will have made him the state's governor for 11.9 percent of Iowa's post-statehood years. And if Branstad decides to run for a sixth (nonconsecutive) term in 2014 and wins, he will have served 8,770 days by the end of that term on January 15, 2019, or 14.0 percent of the 62,841 days in Iowa's history.

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  • When Terry Branstad was Lieutenent Governor of Iowa in 1980 (under Gov. Robert Ray), he visited Clinton, where I worked then as a radio news reporter. He impressed me as a Thomas Dewey lookalike, an ambitious pol with no firm principles of his own except to advance in state government as far as he could. He was smart, but had no core that I saw.
    I left Iowa by the end of that year and returned to Minnesota. When Ray retired two years later and Branstad was elected to succeed him, I was puzzled -- because Branstad had no rallying cry, no great ambition, no vision of governing other than wishywashy Republicanism which was unexciting, even quite humdrum. I was again disappointed when Branstad unretired in 2010 and unseated Democratic Governor Chet Culver, the first time an Iowa governor had been denied re-election in at least three generations. Will Branstad run again in 2014? Will Culver try to get his old job back? Stay tuned.

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