Gov. Terry Branstad (R) is under no real threat of losing reelection to his poorly funded challenger, state Sen. Jack Hatch (D), but "finds himself in an unfamiliar position. He's fending off multiple mini-scandals and has become a political target in a mid-term campaign that was supposed to be about the Democratic president's problems, not his."
"In the last few weeks, Branstad has come forward grim-faced to face questions about why his administration pushed dozens of state officials out of their jobs and paid some to keep quiet about it; whether it kept a blacklist of banned former employees"¦and whether an appointee was mishandling unemployment cases."
"The party is trying to win an open U.S. Senate seat and control of the state Senate, both of which have been held by Democrats. A strong, unhampered Branstad was supposed to help lead that effort," but instead his recent ordeals have provided welcome fodder for Democrats otherwise sidelined by Rep. Bruce Braley's farmer comment. (AP)