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Branstad rethinking neutrality in GOP race

Rod Boshart, CR Gazette –

DES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad indicated today that he may well endorse a candidate in the GOP presidential race after next week’s Wisconsin primary.

The Iowa governor, who stayed neutral in his party’s presidential sweepstakes which kicked off in Iowa in January, expressed concern that the protracted race among Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul is taking resources and preventing Republicans from uniting in their effort to derail Democrat Barack Obama’s re-election bid this November.

“I’m going to take a look at this whole situation after Wisconsin,” Branstad told reporters at today’s weekly news conference. “It’s time for the party to come together.”

Last week former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush became one of the first GOP “super delegates” to weigh in by endorsing former Gov. Mitt Romney’s candidacy. Romney holds a sizable lead in the number of committed delegates he has amassed, but former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum – who narrowly outpolling Romney in Iowa – scored a weekend victory in Louisiana as the four-way race moves to the April 3 contest in Wisconsin.

Once next week’s balloting is completed, Branstad said he “might” throw his support behind a GOP contender for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination.

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