CLARION (Iowa) — Vivek RAMASWAMY has an innovative strategy in his bid for the GOP nomination as president: he is attacking the popular Republican Governors of the first two states that voted.
He has criticised Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds made multiple campaign stops in the Hawkeye State during this week. She was linked to concerns about the use of eminent realm to install private carbon dioxide pipelines.
Ramaswamy has made the issue of carbon capture pipelines and the possible use of eminent-domain (which allows the government seize private property to fund public projects) a regular topic on his campaign trail. These plans have caused concern among Iowa farmers, who fear that one of the controversial pipes could be buried under their land.
Ramaswamy’s public criticism of Reynolds continues his criticisms of key establishment figures, especially in states that have early voting. The businessman had previously slammed New Hampshire Governor. Chris Sununu was referred to as the “face of the establishment” by Chris Sununu in a recent interview.
Both governors were not going to support Ramaswamy. Reynolds already endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been criticized by Sununu for his statements during debates and the campaign trail.
Ramaswamy uses the criticism of governors and, specifically, the pipeline issue in Iowa to draw a comparison between himself and his GOP rivals. He said that the relative silence of other candidates on this issue is due to them being “bought” and “paid for.”
“Each other Republican candidate has not brought up this carbon capture pipeline, which is affecting local farmers. Ramaswamy questioned a group of reporters following a campaign event in Clarion, Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
He continued: “It is because the governor – and you are not allowed to criticize Kim Reynolds – was principally responsible for signing this eminent realm into law.”
In an August NBC/Des Moines Register/Mediacom survey, more Iowa Republicans viewed Reynolds positively (81%) than any other presidential candidate. When the last poll was conducted in late October, 43% of Iowa Republicans viewed Ramaswamy favorably, while 37% did not.
If there’s one issue that could resonate with Iowa Republicans it is Reynolds’ relative silence on the eminent-domain issue, as this strikes a personal cord with many Iowa farmers. Ramaswamy, who questioned the validity of carbon sequestration and capture science, accused Reynolds and state Republicans for not protecting landowners rights.
He said that the Republican establishment of this state and your governor are in favor of eminent-domain for farmers who do not want to give up their land.
Reynolds was surrounded by a crowd of protesters during her speech at a event in September for several GOP candidates running for president in Nevada, Iowa. They did not, however, interrupt her.
Reynolds’s speech was greeted by a roar of applause from the audience, who held signs saying “no dangerous carbon pipelines”.
Marvin Johnson, retired agronomy seller from Kanawha in Iowa, was among those protesters. The 74-year old says that he lives only a few miles from the proposed pipeline, and is frustrated by Reynolds’ refusal to address this issue.
Reynolds. “I love Gov. Reynolds. I love 90% what she does. “On the carbon pipeline she hasn’t stood for landowners in Iowa”, he said.
Ramaswamy’s previous war of words in Iowa with Sununu was less policy-based and more personal.
Ramaswamy, when asked about a possible Sununu endorsement for his campaign said it would be “the kiss of death” to the candidate who receives it. So, he will avoid it.
This came after Sununu appeared on CNN, following the third Republican presidential debate, and claimed that Ramaswamy’s performance last night, in which he attacked Nikki Haley’s daughter, “proved that he didn’t have temperament to handle stress of a public executive role.”
Ramaswamy is attacking Ronna McDaniel as well, and appears to be betting on the fact that the GOP electorate wants an outsider who will challenge the establishment. This aligns with the party that nominated Donald Trump for president in 2016, and has the former president leading the polls in this election cycle. Ramaswamy’s chances of winning the nomination are still uncertain, especially with Trump in the mix.