Bob Vander Plaats, the Iowa social conservative leader and three-time candidate for the Republican governor's nomination, traded off unfamiliarity for unfavorability during his go-for-broke campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices in last year's retention vote.
Most important to him, Vander Plaats says, is that he succeeded in his quest to encourage Iowans to oust three of the justices responsible for the 2009 unanimous ruling that opened up Iowa to same-sex marriage. At the same time, Vander Plaats, a Sioux City resident who now heads a social conservative advocacy group, raised his stature from being a politician only a third of Iowans were familiar with to someone known by about three-fourths of Iowans.
But as Vander Plaats became more of a household name, many Iowans formed an unfavorable impression: 45 percent, according to the most recent Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, taken in February. Twenty-seven percent had favorable feelings toward him, and 28 percent were unsure.
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