Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds is putting to rest persistent rumors that Governor Branstad will retire before his four-year term ends, putting Reynolds into office and setting her up as the incumbent in 2018.
The governor has long denied any such intention.
The rumor got new life with news reports that Branstad could become ambassador to China under a new Donald Trump administration.
Reynolds was asked at the administration’s weekly news conference if she had discussed the possibility with the governor.
“No,” Reynolds said. “Listen. What does he say at almost every stop? We’re proud of what we've done. We’ve got a great story to tell. We're not done yet.”
Reynolds called it a coincidence that Branstad is leading a trade mission to China this week, a trip which was planned months ago.
Branstad has close ties to Chinese President Xi Jinping. Branstad’s support helped win Iowa for Trump in last week’s election.
Reynolds would not speculate on whether the governor would run again in 2018.
“I don’t know what the governor’s going to do,” Reynolds said.
Branstad has made clear he is grooming Reynolds to eventually become governor.
Reynolds said her focus is on the upcoming legislative session, when Republicans will control both houses of the legislature.