Chet Culver

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Chet Culver
Governor of Iowa
Former officeholder
Prior offices
Governor of Iowa
Iowa Secretary of State
Bachelor'sState University-Blacksburg, Virginia
Master'sDrake University
Date of birthJanuary 25, 1966
Place of birthWashington, D.C.
ProfessionFormer teacher/former lobbyist
Chester John "Chet" Culver (b. January 25 1966, in Washington, D.C.) is a former Governor of Iowa, having won the 2006 election. His assumption of office marked the first time that Democrats simultaneously controlled both the executive and legislative branches of Iowa's state government since the 1965-1967 session of the Iowa General Assembly. Culver was also the first Democratic governor in Iowa since Clyde Herring in 1937 to be elected to succeed another Democrat. Culver sought re-election in 2010 but lost to Republican Terry E. Branstad.


Culver is the son of former U.S. Senator John Culver, who represented Iowa from 1975-1981 in the Senate. He was born in Washington, D.C. and attended Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in suburban Maryland, graduating in 1984. After graduation, Culver attended college at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia on a football scholarship, where he earned a B.A. in political science. Culver then worked as a lobbyist for two years in 1989 and 1990. The clients of the lobbying firm which employed Culver during this time included the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association, Iowa Beef Processors, and Des Moines University.

Culver earned a master's degree in education from Drake University. Culver taught high school in Des Moines, Iowa prior to election as Secretary of State in 1998.[1]


  • Bachelor's degree in political science, State University in Blacksburg
  • Master's degree in education, Drake University

Political career

Governor of Iowa (2007-2011)

Culver was elected Governor of Iowa in 2006, and took office the following January. He ran for a second term in 2010 but lost to Republican Terry Branstad in the general election on November 2, 2010.

On The Issues Vote Match

Chet Culver's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Culver is a Moderate Liberal Populist. Culver received a score of 52 percent on social issues and 37 percent on economic issues.[2]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[3]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Unknown Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Favors
Expand ObamaCare Strongly Favors Comfortable with same-sex marriage Strongly Favors
Vouchers for school choice Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Favors
Absolute right to gun ownership Unknown Human needs over animal rights Unknown
Higher taxes on the wealthy Favors Stricter punishment reduces crime Unknown
Support & expand free trade Unknown Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Favors
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Favors Maintain US sovereignty from UN Unknown
Prioritize green energy Strongly Favors Expand the military Favors
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Opposes Stay out of Iran Unknown
Privatize Social Security Unknown Never legalize marijuana Unknown
Note: Information last updated: April 19, 2015.[2] If you notice the rating has changed, email us.



See also: Iowa gubernatorial election, 2014

Culver considered a comeback bid for Governor of Iowa in 2014. First elected to the post in 2006, Culver served one term before being ousted by Terry E. Branstad (R) in the 2010 election. Culver explored the possibility of a rematch with Branstad, who sought re-election in 2014, but ultimately decided against entering the race during the 2014 electoral cycle.[4][5]


See also: Iowa gubernatorial election, 2010

Culver sought re-election in 2010 but lost to Republican Terry E. Branstad.


Culver's main opponents for the Democratic nomination were former director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development Mike Blouin and seven term State Representative Ed Fallon. Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge was also running for the nomination, but after she withdrew from the race, she gave her support to Culver and became his running mate. Culver won the Democratic primary with 39% of the vote.

Culver faced Republican Congressman Jim Nussle of Manchester, who was unopposed in the Republican primary, in the general election. On November 7, 2006, Culver defeated Nussle in the general election with 54% of the vote while Nussle won 44%, and minor party candidates won 2%. Culver received the endorsement of Planned Parenthood. Nussle proposed a complete ban on abortion without any exceptions.[6]

2009 budget plan

Culver cut state agencies by $520 million and cut his own pay by 10%. Cuts included 180 layoffs and furloughs for over 3,200 state workers.[7]


He currently resides in West Des Moines, Iowa with his wife Mariclare Thinnes Culver and their two children, Clare Honour and John William. He attends Central Presbyterian church in West Des Moines, where he serves as a church elder.

See also

External links


  1. Sioux City Journal, "Candidate profile: Chet Culver," November 3, 2006
  2. 2.0 2.1 On The Issues, "Chet Culver Vote Match," accessed April 19, 2015
  3. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers.
  4. WHOTV Des Moines, "CULVER PLANS: Former Governor Considers Future," December 2, 2012
  5. The DesMoines Register, "Democrat Chet Culver: I won’t run for public office in 2014," February 12, 2014
  6. Beaumont, Thomas. "Culver, Blouin battle for labor backing", Des Moines Register, 2/28/2006. (Retrieved 2/28/2006)
  7. Governor Lays Out Budget Cuts; His Salary Safe, Nebraska Watchdog, November 2, 2009