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Iowa's Kim Reynolds -- a Kingmaker for 2016?

Iowa's Kim Reynolds -- a Kingmaker for 2016?

By Erin McPike - August 27, 2012


TAMPA -- Election Day isn't even upon us yet, but the jockeying for 2016 (or maybe even 2020) is already happening.

The secretary of the Republican National Convention is Kim Reynolds, who also happens to be the lieutenant governor of Iowa, one of the most important states in the presidential nomination process.

Reynolds is a young, well-spoken and attractive female, and as Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's second-in-command, she is among her party's top contenders to run the state when he steps aside. For what it's worth, Iowa has never had a female governor, and should she vie for that title, possibly in 2014, hers could become one of the most valuable endorsements in the state.

And so it is that Reynolds has been fielding calls from a number of the party's governors who are in town for the convention.

In a brief interview with RCP, Reynolds said she's been chatting with New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Virginia’s Bob McDonnell and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker.

Those three leaders have been talked up as possible presidential contenders down the road, particularly in 2016 if Mitt Romney does not prevail this year. Although all will be speaking from the convention podium during prime-time proceedings this week, and thus have that excuse to chat with the convention's secretary, it's never too early to start courting a potential governor of the Hawkeye State -- who is perhaps the most powerful woman in Iowan Republican politics right now.

Reynolds said one of her party's main missions in the next election cycle is winning control of the state Senate. And to that end, she is working to get some of these big draws to come back. Walker might be on the books for an event soon.

As for Christie, she winked as she said, "He's helping us."

For these rising party figures, it's not just about getting Reynolds on their side; every new GOP state legislator elected helps, too. 

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at emcpike@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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