Branstad on defensive after several mini-scandals - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Branstad on defensive after several mini-scandals

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DES MOINES (AP) - Longtime Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad finds himself in the unfamiliar position of juggling mini-scandals as he prepares to seek a sixth term.

In recent weeks, he's had to face questions about why his administration pushed about 1,200 state workers out of their jobs and paid some to keep quiet, whether it kept a blacklist of former employees banned for rehiring, and whether an appointee was mishandling unemployment cases.

The controversies aren't threatening Branstad's re-election. He had 10 times the campaign cash of his little-known Democratic challenger Jack Hatch.

But Democratic lawmakers are planning investigations. And Republicans worry that the turmoil will roil the political waters as they attempt to win a U.S. Senate seat and control of the state Senate. The Republican governor is counted on to help lead that effort.

By THOMAS BEAUMONT, Associated Press. Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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