Kim Reynolds was sworn in as Iowa’s 43rd governor yesterday, but it certainly didn’t take her long to kick off her reelection campaign. On the same day that she laid out her policy agenda for the state, her staff amended her former lt. governor campaign committee to a full gubernatorial one named “Kim Reynolds for Iowa.” She already has at least a million dollars in that from fundraising last year.
On a more substantive front, Reynolds launched a campaign website and also unveiled a five-minute video introducing herself to Iowa voters. It plays out like an introductory campaign video you’d release when you announce you’re running for governor, much as Democratic candidates like Nate Boulton, Todd Prichard and Andy McGuire did. Reynolds recalls her early days growing up in rural Iowa, working as a waitress, building a strong work ethic, being involved in the community and then running for county office.
A voice-over touts her personal values.
“Working nights as a checkout clerk at Hy-Vee while raising three young daughters, Kim truly understands the values of fiscal responsibility and hard work because she’s lived them her whole life,” the narration says.
Interestingly, Reynolds confronts one potential looming issue head on in the video: her two DUIs in 1999 and 2000.
“I had a choice to make – you could either crawl in a hole and let alcoholism define me, or I could fight back and get healthy,” Reynolds says. “Faith – I wouldn’t be here without it. Every day, when I lay my head on the pillow, I thank God for another day of sobriety.”
What’s a little peculiar about it all is how everything that Reynolds has publicly done so far has been in her official role as the new governor. They haven’t done a political/campaign roll-out yet, and the statewide tour she’s going on with her new lt. governor, Adam Gregg, is technically under the the official administration banner. But the line between the official and political side is a little murky if you don’t look carefully.
The new website is GovernorReynolds.com, which obviously someone could easily mistake for a sort of official page with “governor” in the title. Along with the video, it lists the stops for her upcoming trip with Gregg. Do incumbent governor’s political reelection campaigns typically promote their official, governmental events through their campaign?
Obviously, Reynolds is just getting started in the her new role, and there’s only so much content to work with at the moment. But they’ll want to start differentiating the official and political sides very soon in order to avoid a blurring of legal lines – especially since they haven’t done a full announcement of a political campaign.
There’s also the tricky issue of how the state party is going to be technically neutral in the likely upcoming primary between Reynolds and Ron Corbett. If Reynolds’ updated campaign committee is handling a lot of the biographical roll-out, what can the party promote? And where’s the line between highlighting Reynolds as governor, and helping Reynolds as a candidate for governor?
This isn’t the biggest landmine Reynolds has to deal with as the state’s new chief official, but it’s something her campaign and official staff will need to be cognizant of if they don’t want to get into trouble.
by Pat Rynard