Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey sat down with the Iowa State Daily Thursday, telling the student newspaper that a bid for governor as fellow Republican Terry Branstad finishes out his unprecedented sixth term in 2018 was “something we’re in serious conversations [about] with folks now.”
Northey was elected as the state’s ag secretary in 2006, succeeding Democrat Patty Judge, who’s now challenging Chuck Grassley for his Senate seat. Like Branstad and other top Iowa Republicans, Northey is a loyal backer of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump – in August, he was named as a member of his agricultural advisory committee along with Branstad, Board of Regents President and ag magnate Bruce Rastetter, former American Soybean Association Ron Heck, former House Ag Committee chair Annettee Sweeney, and Morningside College economics professor Sam Clovis.
During his time as ag secretary, Northey has been a reliable supporter of industry interests, fighting efforts to better regulate Iowa waterways that have been heavily polluted by runoff from farmland and animal confinements.
As Daily reporter Alex Hanson noted, Northey has previously hinted he may pursue the governor’s mansion, saying on Iowa Public Television in April that he would make a decision sometime next year.