Knoxville — Longtime political activist Tom Hoefling of Lohrville is hopeful that his grassroots campaign, nurtured by the conservatism of Iowans, will gow into a term as Iowa's next governor.
Hoefling has worked on many campaigns (mostly Republican) over the years, with the exceptions of the John McCain and Mitt Romney presidential runs. He was not happy with either of their nominations. A self-professed conservative, Hoefling briefly became a Republican to support Bob Vander Plaats' 2010 gubernatorial run.
Vander Plaats lost to Gov. Terry Branstad in the primary that year. Now is Hoefling's opportunity to try to earn the Republican Party's nomination. Hoefling was asked how he thought he could defeat Iowa's longest-serving governor.
"There are a lot of reasons," Hoefling said. In his opinion, most Iowa Republicans are conservative and that Branstad does not represent their priorities. For instance, Branstad has been supportive of Common Core education in Iowa. Hoefling considers himself a "Reagan Conservative" and that those who supported President Reagan in the past will support him as well.
Conservatives comprise the base of the Iowa GOP. Hoefling also cites his success in earning a spot on the ballot, which requires signatures from several counties, to get done. Grassroots made that happen and he believes that grassroots support will help him overcome Branstad's monetary war chest, as well as the spending that will come in the general election.
Hoefling believes that the key to true economic development in the state does not fall under the current structure of the state choosing which entrepreneurs, businesses and projects receive funding. One way to spur growth is to end Iowa's state income tax, Hoefling said.
"I want to get rid of our state income tax," Hoefling said. Growth has been seen in states with no such tax.