Calhoun Co. man plans to challenge Branstad

A Calhoun County man who describes himself as a ”straight up the middle Reagan conservative” is trying to challenge Gov. Terry Branstad in this year’s Republican primary election.

”If you’re tired of the Republican status quo, let’s look at doing something different,” Tom Hoefling, of Lohrville, said Wednesday during a visit to Fort Dodge.

”I know a lot of conservatives who aren’t happy with Branstad,” he added. ”They’re looking for someplace else to put their vote. A lot of people are angry with what’s happening to the country and they blame establishment Republicans.”

Hoefling said he is now trying to obtain the roughly 3,600 petition signatures needed to get his name on the ballot for the June 3 primary. He said he is ”on track to get it done.”

Hoefling has never held elected office. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in state House District 14 in 1998, but was defeated by Paul Johnson, of Gowrie.

In 2012, he ran for president as the nominee of America’s Party, but was not on the ballot in Iowa.

He was a member of the state Republican Central Committee from 1994 to 1996.

Hoefling, a consultant and publisher, briefly led an organization called the Iowa Conservative Coalition. He worked on the 2000 Iowa caucus campaign of Alan Keyes. But he said he left the Republican Party for awhile after it nominated U.S. Sen. John McCain, of Arizona, for president in 2004.

He said if he’s elected, he’ll seek to eliminate the state’s income tax and enact ”fundamental tax and regulatory reform.”

He added that he wants to implement what he calls ”True Local Control or TLC” for public schools.

Hoefling also wants to change the state’s economic development programs.

”What is passing as economic development is actually crony capitalism,” he said. ”We shouldn’t be offering special favors through our tax code.”