Iowa Gov. On Karl Rove: Not ‘Helpful for Out of State Groups To Attempt To Manipulate the Process’

February 20, 2013 - 4:57 PM

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Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) -- Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) reaffirmed his criticism of GOP political strategist Karl Rove’s activities concerning the 2014 Iowa Senate race, saying he does “not believe it is particularly helpful for out of state groups to attempt to manipulate the process.”

The super PAC American Crossroads—which Rove founded and to which he now serves as adviser—recently launched the Conservative Victory Project in an effort to support GOP candidates who Rove and others view as electable.

Currently, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is considering making a run in Iowa to be the Republican nominee for Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D) seat in 2014.

On Feb 2, the New York Times reported that Steven Law, president of American Crossroads and who is overseeing the Rove-backed Conservative Victory Project, expressed concerns about King running for Senate.

“We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Law said. “This is an example of candidate discipline and how it would play in a general election. All of the things he’s said are going to be hung around his neck.”

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GOP political consultant Karl Rove. (AP)

In a statement to CNSNews.com, Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht said that Gov. Branstad believes “out of state groups” such as the Conservative Victory Project should stay out of the process of choosing candidates in Iowa.

“The governor believes Iowa Republicans should determine their nominee for the U.S. Senate, and does not believe it is particularly helpful for out of state groups to attempt to manipulate the process,” Albrecht said.

“The grassroots in Iowa is particularly savvy, given our status as a swing state each year and our important, first-in-the-nation role in choosing our presidential nominee,” he said.

Albrecht added that Gov. Branstad and Rove had a “productive conversation” about the GOP Senate campaign in 2014, and believes his message was received.

“The governor had a productive conversation with Karl Rove, believes his message was received, and is excited for Iowa Republicans to pick a strong nominee in the first open U.S. Senate race in Iowa in 40 years,” Albrecht told CNSNews.com.

During an interview with the Associated Press published on Feb. 15, Branstad claimed the attempts by Rove to influence the Iowa Senate race are “counter-productive” and Rove “needs to stay out of it.”

“I basically told Karl Rove that what he was doing is counter-productive and he needs to stay out of it,” Branstad told the AP.

“If some outside group that has no connection to Iowa attacks somebody from Iowa, that is not smart,” he said.