DES MOINES — Independent gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Narcisse believes Iowa voters will get so tired of the negative attacks hurled between Democrat Chet Culver and Republican Terry Branstad that they’ll turn to his solutions-oriented campaign on Nov. 2.
Narcisse, 46, a former Des Moines school board member, publisher and community activist, is convinced he can win the general election and he believes he should be included in any face-to-face debates that take place during the fall campaign, although he is certain the political “establishment” is going to try to exclude him by contending he is not a viable candidate.
“If I get in the debates, I think my chances go from long shot to very good,” said Narcisse, who announced Thursday that his choice for running mate is Rick Marlar, 57, a Washington County truck driver who finished third in a GOP primary in Iowa Senate District 45 garnering 681 votes — 12 percent — in last month’s election.
Narcisse and Marlar traveled throughout the state on Thursday, including a stop in Davenport.
“These two guys have never lost, so I have no delusion about how easy it’s going to be,” said Narcisse, but he remains convinced that voters are looking for a candidate who will replace wasteful bureaucracy with accountable and efficient government, restore the greatness of Iowa education, rebuild a strong economy, and provide a vision for the future that will engage Iowans.
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“Culver and Branstad are going to wage an unprecedented negative campaign. They’re going to just pound each other to a bloody pulp,” Narcisse predicted. “I believe that by the time they get through hammering each other, on Nov. 2, if Iowans could vote for none of the above that none of the above would beat Branstad and Culver. So my job now is to become ‘None Of The Above Narcisse.'"
Narcisse said both Culver and Branstad have lost touch with working-class Iowans. He said he would keep close contact with the people by establishing a president-prime minister style of administration that would allow him and Marlar to spend time meeting directly with Iowans “while competent bureaucrats implement our vision in Des Moines.” He also said he would arrange for all state boards and commissions to conduct meetings carried live on the Internet to keep citizens connected with their government.
Narcisse initially considered challenging Culver in the Democratic primary but chose instead to wage an independent challenge. In December, he said he expected he would have to raise $1.5 million to $2 million to wage a viable campaign but he has scaled back that projection, saying he believes he can muster the resources needed to run an aggressive, 99-county effort.
His latest campaign finance report indicates he raised $3,360 and received a $5,135 loan for the period that ended in May. He spent $5,500 and had nearly $3,000 in cash on hand. He said he is set to step up his fundraising activities this summer.
Narcisse said he chose Marlar as his choice for lieutenant governor on his independent ticket because they share the same fervor for reform. Marlar, a truck driver for 30 years and former pilot who logged four years in the submarine service, lives on 40 acres near Wayland and understands rural and farm life, he said. Narcisse said Marlar reminded him of another truck driver in Iowa who was successful in gubernatorial politics, Ida Grove native Harold Hughes, who was elected governor and served in the U.S. Senate during his political career.