Gov. Kim Reynolds, while not predicting civil unrest, has held planning discussions on state-level response to potential election-related violence in Iowa, she said Thursday afternoon in Carroll.
In response to questions from the Carroll Times Herald following a campaign event for Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak, and President Donald Trump in downtown Carroll, Reynolds said she has spoken personally with Maj. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, adjutant general for the Iowa National Guard, about possible scenarios involving violence from a variety of sources in coming weeks amid the tumult of the contemporary political environment nationally.
“I had him in last week,” Reynolds said. “We sat down. So he’s got his team ready and on call, and we know what we need to do to trigger that.”
Reynolds declined to discuss specifics of the conversations with the National Guard, and with law enforcement, about concerns or strategies related to the election, such as any potential hotspots or suspicious activity, if any, being monitored online or otherwise.
“Well, you always have to be ready, especially from what you’ve seen happening across this country,” Reynolds said. “I actually have had those conversations. I’m not going to go into a lot of details.”
When asked directly if Iowans have reason to worry about violence on election night, or in the days around Nov. 3, Reynolds said, “You can’t not be prepared. So it can’t not be part of the conversation you are having. We need to prepare for the worst and hope it doesn’t happen.”
Reynolds did say preparations involve both urban and rural areas of Iowa.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a Democrat, said this week that other governors, including Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, have called her to express support and concern after law enforcement foiled a plot by extremists to kidnap Whitmer.
Reynolds, a Republican, said she was not one of the governors who called Whitmer.
“I didn’t,” Reynolds said. “There’s no reason that I didn’t. I just didn’t. I didn’t reach out.”