JOHSTON — Rob Sand, the Democratic Iowa state auditor, said Friday he is considering three options for next year’s elections: run for re-election as auditor, run for governor or the U.S. Senate.
Followers of Iowa politics have suspected Sand, a former staffer in the state attorney general’s office elected auditor in 2018, may have his eye on the governor’s office or Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat in 2022.
Sand confirmed those suspicions Friday during taping of this weekend’s episode of “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS.
Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds plans to run for re-election, and Republican Chuck Grassley, 87, has not yet announced whether he will seek an eighth term in the U.S. Senate.
Sand said he does not have a self-imposed timetable for when he will make his decision.
“I’ve got a four-and-a-half year old, a freshly minted seven-year old at home. These are big questions, they’re hard to balance, and there are certainly things that weigh in both directions,” Sand said. “I just haven’t finished weighing them.”
Sand is considered a rising star among Iowa Democrats. The 38-year-old attorney in 2018 joined attorney general Tom Miller and treasurer Mike Fitzgerald as the only Democrats to win a statewide election in the past 13 years.
Sand’s comments mirror those of Democratic U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, who recently told the Storm Lake Times newspaper that she is considering whether to run for a third term in the U.S. House, or run for the U.S. Senate or governor.
Whether drawing on his role as state auditor and a taxpayer watchdog, or with political motivation, Sand offered plenty of criticism for Reynolds and her administration. Sand criticized Reynolds’ dispersal of federal pandemic relief funding and for the lack of state pandemic relief funding, and gave credit for the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout not to the administration but to a couple of social media accounts that helped Iowans find open vaccination appointments.
“People who know small-town Iowa, when I grew up in Decorah, the feeling of a business closing down hurts. It is what people talk about for weeks. And you look around the state right now and you have people who have poured their lives into creating a gathering place for their community and it might be the only one there and now this pandemic comes along and through no fault of that business owner they have had to shut down and they have lost their business,” Sand said. “Small towns need those gathering places where people can see each other. And the fact that they have been unwilling to help, unwilling to assist, to me is wild.”
Reynolds previously said there is not enough money in the state budget to help all of Iowa’s businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Iowa governments, businesses and individuals have received more than $8 billion in federal pandemic relief funding.
This week’s episode of “Iowa Press” will air on Iowa PBS at 7:30 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday. The show also can be viewed online at iowapbs.org.