Terry Branstad is Iowa’s longest serving governor. If he wins re-election, he would become the nation’s longest serving governor.
But he has to convince Iowans he’s still the best person for the job.
“Wait a minute, wait a minute.” Don’t believe everything you hear Governor Branstad warned us Monday.
It turns out, maybe we should have believed former state worker Carol Frank’s claims she was paid hush money.
The truth of her words makes the governor’s previous emphatic denial that the offer didn’t happen potentially more damaging to his reputation.
The governor said repeatedly he never knew about confidential settlements given to former workers affiliated with a dozen different departments across the state.
Denial has been a big part of the governor’s response in other key statehouse controversies.
When state troopers driving him got busted from driving far too fast, the governor said, “The lieutenant governor and I were both in the vehicle. We didn’t know anything about it. We didn’t know the incident even occurred.”
When news broke staff at the Iowa Juvenile Home kept troubled children locked in isolation cells for months, the governor said he didn’t know.
Five months after the home’s former superintendent left, when asked whether she quit or got fired the governor responded, “I don’t know the information on that. I don’t try to micromanage departments and agencies. “
Three high profile controversies, three denials from the governor.
Add them together and they give his long-shot challenger this to question the governor’s leadership. “I’m just wondering who’s in charge? He says he doesn’t micromanage. But the question is, does he manage at all?” gubernatorial contender Jack Hatch asked.
The governor faced criticism for letting two men remain on their jobs too long. Employees said Public Safety Director Brian London’s management style ruined morale. And they said Commandant David Worley bullied residents and staff at the Iowa Veterans Home.
The governor had initially praised both men. Both men eventually resigned.
Voters will eventually have a choice to make. Do they think the governor doesn’t have a good grasp on what his managers are doing, as Hatch claims? Or when the governor finds out there has been a problem does he take decisive action?
The DAS director has been fired, the speeding troopers were reprimanded and the governor closed the Juvenile Home.
Come November voters decide whether Governor Branstad remains the best person for the job.