Monday, June 15, 2009

Roberts close to announcing exploratory committee

State Rep. Rod Roberts, R-Carroll, says he’s close to announcing the formation of an exploratory committee for a gubernatorial campaign in 2010.

“I’m pretty much 95 percent decided to do this with the exploratory committee,” Roberts said.

At this point the veteran legislator said he was not prepared to release names of those who would serve on an exploratory committee.

The ability to reach voters in Iowa’s vast geography will play a major role in Roberts’ ultimate decision, he said.

“There’s a lot of ground,” Roberts said. “There’s a lot of folks.”

The key charge of the exploratory committee will be to determine if Roberts has the fund-raising muscle to be competitive. He would look for a green light on that before announcing a run.

A large field is emerging of possible GOP candidates to challenge Democratic Gov. Chet Culver. As it stands that Republican list would include: Sioux City business consultant Bob Vander Plaats (who ran in 2006 before joining forces with the eventual nominee, Congressman Jim Nussle) U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, State Rep. Christopher Rants of Sioux City, former State Sen. Jeff Lamberti, an Ankeny lawyer and board member of Casey’s General Stores, State Sen. Jerry Behn of Boone and Vermeer Corp. president Mary Andringa of Mitchellville.

Roberts knows he doesn’t go into the starting gate with the best odds. That suits him just fine.

“I kind of like being the darkhorse person in the mix of names,” Roberts said.
Roberts has been receiving more media attention around Iowa in recent weeks.

WHO-TV’s Dave Price ran a Web log post titled “Don’t forget about Rod Roberts” which went on to analyze some of the possible field and Roberts place within it.

Roberts will be one of what is expected to be a handful of potential candidates for governor to attend a Sac County GOP fund-raiser on Saturday, June 27.

Last week, Roberts attended the Iowa Association of Business and Industry event in Arnolds Park in which former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was the featured speaker. Roberts said the event gave him an opportunity to further network with leaders in Iowa and potential supporters.

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