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Michael Richards

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Michael Richards
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General electionNovember 4, 2014
Candidate for
Lieutenant Governor of Iowa
PartyIowa Party
Campaign website
Michael Richards is an Iowa Party candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Iowa in the 2014 elections.[1] The general election takes place November 4, 2014.

Richards also ran for governor on the Iowa Party line in 2010.



See also: Iowa lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2014

Richards is running for Lieutenant Governor of Iowa as an Iowa Party candidate. His running mate is Jonathan Narcisse.[1] The general election takes place November 4, 2014.

Race background

Republican incumbent Terry Branstad is running for re-election to a sixth non-consecutive term as governor in 2014. Branstad first held the governorship from 1983 to 1999, and then reemerged after years in political retirement to win back the office in the 2010 gubernatorial election. In January 2011, one week into his comeback term, Branstad became both Iowa's and the nation's longest serving governor.[2] Current Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds (R), who was Branstand's running mate in 2010, is also seeking re-election and will share the ticket with Branstad for the second time this November.[3]

Despite a troubling couple of months leading up to the June 2 primary, Branstad managed an easy victory over GOP challenger Tom Hoefling to secure the party's re-nomination.

Branstad and Hatch will appear on the November general election ballot along with third party candidates Lee Hieb (Libertarian), Jim Hennager (New Independent Party) and Jonathan Narcisse (Iowa Party) and their respective running mates.[1][4]

Polls, approval ratings

Before Branstad formally launched his campaign, polls showed him in excellent standing for winning re-election, with an average lead of 20 percentage points in hypothetical general election match-ups.[5] Branstad had looked considerably less secure around the time ex-Democratic challenger Tyler Olson entered the race back in July 2013, with only 43 percent of polled voters saying they believed the governor deserved to be re-elected and 54 percent answering that he has held office long enough, even though 51 percent approved of his performance. December's numbers from Quinnipiac University gave him a boost of eight percentage points in both approval and "deserves to be re-elected" categories.[6][7] As of mid-March, polled continued to show Branstad sitting comfortably at 63 percent job approval and Hatch trailing behind by 15 points.[8]

By spring, a string of scandals inside the Branstad administration had caused a steep downturn in the incumbent's job approval and trust rating among Iowa voters. In a short space of time, Branstad was accused of using his office to commit or facilitate a variety of crimes and improprieties, such as: the wrongful firing of a state trooper who nabbed the governor for speeding, crooked dealings state judge, abuse in an Iowa juvenile home and giving hush-payments to fired state employees claiming to victims of political revenge. Amid the resulting storm of bad press directed at Branstad and his office, the governor maintained a policy of denying knowledge or involvement in these alleged transgressions. According to an April 22 Public Policy Poll for Progress Iowa, 83% of Iowa voters said they were either somewhat or very aware of the scandals and 56 percent indicated they were unconvinced by Branstad's official line of denial.[9] In addition, 30 percent of respondents said they thought Branstad should resign, while the rest were split almost evenly between believing he should stay and "Not sure." As of April, besides shedding voters' doubt on Branstad's honesty and integrity, the allegations cost the jobs of numerous state department leaders and prompted state lawmakers to call for an independent investigation.[9][10] Branstad closed out the month leading Hatch 45-43, his smallest-ever edge, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the conservative-leaning Daily Caller.[11]

Candidate withdrawals

Democratic State Rep. Tyler Olson declared his candidacy for governor in July 2013 and was considered a strong contender for the party's nomination before withdrawing from the race in December.[12] He decided to drop out following the announcement of his separation from wife Sarah Olson, who had been an instrumental part of his family-oriented campaign.[13][14] Olson's withdrawal was followed soon thereafter by former state Sen. Bob Krause's announcement he was shutting down his campaign. Their absences cleared the path for remaining Democratic hopeful Jack Hatch to face Branstad in the general election. Krause immediately gave Hatch his support, while Olson noticeably declined to endorse Hatch upon dropping out of the race.[12][15]

Recent news

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Iowa Secretary of State, "Candidate Listing by Office 2014 General Election," accessed August 6, 2014
  2. Smart Politics, "The Top 50 Longest-Serving Governors of All Time," April 10, 2013
  3. The DesMoines Register, "It’s official: Terry Branstad will run for sixth term as Iowa governor," January 15, 2014
  4. Iowa Secretary of State, "Candidate Listing by Office 2014 General Election," accessed August 6, 2014
  5. The Des Moines-Register, "Iowa Poll: Iowans widely approve of state's direction, Branstad's performance," December 16, 2013
  6. Quinnipiac University, Iowa Voters Like Gov. Branstad, But Say It's Time To Go, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Possible 2014 Challengers Are Largely Unknown, July 19, 2013
  7. Quinnipiac University Poll, "December 17, 2013 - Iowa Gov's Approval, Re-election Prospects Improve, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Christie Tops Clinton By 5 Points In 2016 Race," December 17, 2013
  8. Des Moines Register, "Iowa Poll: Support for Branstad up; Hatch sees little progress," March 8, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 Progress Iowa, "NEW POLL: Branstad Approval Rating Plummets After Scandals," April 22, 2014
  10. The Des Moines Register, "Branstad fires state director over secret settlement scandal," April 8, 2014
  11. Daily Caller, "Iowa Governor Poll," April 22-24, 2014
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named withdrew
  13. Tyler Olson for Governor 2014, "Homepage," accessed July 11, 2013
  14. The Des Moines-Register, "Iowa Poll: Iowans widely approve of state's direction, Branstad's performance," December 16, 2013
  15. The Des Moines-Register, "Krause ends bid for governor, endorses fellow Democrat Hatch," January 2, 2013