Jonathan Narcisse, who earlier this month launches his Democratic governor campaign, contends he's got sufficient support to become the party's nominee after the June 3 primary vote. Narcisse said he's not worried about his relatively late entry, positing that the other Democrat, state Sen. Jack Hatch, of Des Moines, has soft support.
Narcisse said his core supporters will stick with him, he just needs to double that total.
"I have about 15,000 to 20,000 votes in the bank. I only need about 35,000 votes in a primary. I can get to 35,000 to 40,000 votes," he said.
Narcisse spoke with the Journal on Thursday as he continued a swing to visit Iowa media. He said he only decided to enter the race after Tyler Olson, a state representative from Cedar Rapids, dropped out in December. Narcisse was also emboldened by a December poll that showed another Democratic candidate, Bob Krause, had a higher favorability rating than Hatch. (Krause has subsequently dropped out, endorsing Hatch.)
"Despite being a nice guy, Senator Hatch is not a juggernaut... If he couldn't beat Bob Krause, he can't beat me," he said.
Narcisse is a former Des Moines School Board member and former Polk County Democratic Party co-chairman. While he's been a long-time Democrat known for a passion on education issues, he sought the governor position in 2010 as an independent Iowa Party candidate. Narcisse isn't daunted by that poor showing, getting 1.8 percent of the vote.
He said it was hard to break through when competing against two governors, the incumbent Democrat Chet Culver and former Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who won the election.
"I got support in nearly every single (voting) precinct," Narcisse said.
Narcisse said he will definitively be able to raise enough money to be competitive and win the nomination. He said people will respond to his push to end the "crony capitalism" of Branstad's administration, for more job training to help people improve their incomes and to move away from "this tax-working-people-til-they-bleed" ethic now in the state.
He also said his first act as governor would be the ensure the viability of public employee pensions.
"I am a kid of labor. When I talk to labor, I don't need a translator," Narcisse stated during an interview in which he referenced Commodores music, the Anchorman film character Ron Burgundy and his love of onion rings.
He also used a sports metaphor for how he'd lead Iowa.
"I am so optimistic about what we are capable of (in Iowa). We just need the right leadership. We are not the Brooklyn Nets or the Minnesota Timberwolves. We are the Lakers. We just need the right coach," Narcisse said.