Republican challenger for governor says he’s the true conservative
Tom Hoefling of Lohrville also ran for president in 2012 By Douglas Burns4/9/2014
Tom Hoefling wears the underdog label with pride.
The Lohrville Republican, a long-time conservative activist, is on the ballot in the GOP gubernatorial primary, the lone challenger there to Gov. Terry Branstad, a five-term officeholder seeking a sixth, four-year stint at Terrace Hill.
Does Hoefling, 53, a political consultant, think he realistically has a chance to defeat Branstad?
“People ask me that all the time,” Hoefling said. “I can’t beat Branstad, but the people can if they choose to.”
Born in Omaha, Neb., and raised in Ralston, Neb., Hoefling has lived in the Lohrville area since the mid 1990s.
“We’re poor as a church mouse, and it’s primarily because I’m more activist than consultant,” said Hoefling, a married father of eight children.
He described himself as “pro-life, pro-family and pro-gun.”
“The bottom line is I represent the Republican base,” Hoefling said.
On abortion, Hoefling thinks unborn babies should have the same rights as all Iowans.
“I’m just a Bible-believing Christian,” Hoefling said.
Hoefling said one of the chief reasons he’s challenging Branstad is because of the governor’s leadership of an economic-development policy Hoefling thinks is flawed and deals out “special favors” to businesses.
“It really is just crony capitalism,” Hoefling said.
He added, “This system we’ve developed is state socialism.”
Hoefling said Iowans should be concerned that Branstad is clearly grooming Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds as his successor.
“I am offended that he thinks he can dictate, that he can say, ‘Kim Reynolds is next in line,’ ” Hoefling said.
Hoefling’s main thrust on education would be to eliminate the power of the state universities and see more post-secondary learning happen in private colleges. He stopped short of calling for cutting funding to the universities.
“I would take a cautious approach to it,” he said.
In terms of high school and grade school education, Hoefling is opposed to forced consolidation of rural schools. He wants government out of education to the extent possible.
“I think government is very bad at doing education,” Hoefling said.
Hoefling would eliminate the state income tax and revise the entire tax code.
In 2012 Hoefling ran for president as the conservative America’s Party candidate.
State Sen. Jack Hatch of Des Moines is the only Democratic candidate for governor on the ballot. CV
Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman who writes for The Carroll Daily Times Herald and offers columns for Cityview.