Governor Branstad says it’s too early to predict a winner in the race for the Republican nomination for president. But he says that it will probably not be real estate mogul Donald Trump in spite of his first place ranking in current national polls, and his second place standing among Iowa voters.
"It's way early and polls at this point in time tend to reflect name recognition," Branstad says. "And, obviously, he's a TV personality who has a lot of recognition, but there's a lot of really good candidates in this race.”
Governor Branstad is remaining neutral as the race heats up in Iowa. However, he singles out candidates who are governors and former governors.
“Like Rick Perry,” Branstad said at a downtown Des Moines news conference.
“He’s going to do a lot better than people expect. And Governor Walker is committed to going to all 99 counties,” Branstad says.
“Obviously I like governors,” Branstad adds.
Also, it appears that Fox News will limit participation in upcoming presidential debates, in spite of an impassioned attempt by Branstad to change their minds.
The network plans two discussions, a debate with the ten who are doing the best in the polls, and a shorter event for everyone else.
Branstad thinks it would be fairer to have two debates, with participants in each randomly drawn.
Branstad says he had a frank discussion about it with Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes.
"He was the media consultant for two of my campaigns and I have a lot of respect for him,” Branstad says.
“He said the concern was the frontrunners. He didn’t know if it would be fair to them,” Branstad adds.
Branstad also expressed his concerns about the debate format with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.