Following a bruising primary battle with a series of high-profile state officials, Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver captured the nomination as the Democratic candidate vying for the seat vacated by fellow Democrat Gov. Thomas Vilsack.
Culver was elected as Iowa's 29th secretary of state on Nov. 3, 1998. At 33, he was the youngest person ever to hold the job and four years later voters re-elected him to the position. The office handles business filings, voter registration and election supervision, and nomination petitions for state government offices, among other duties.
Some of Culver's initiatives as secretary of state included promoting better management practices among nonprofits, improving voter machine security and encouraging young voters to go to the polls.
In his campaign to become governor, he and his running mate Patty Judge came up with a plan they said would remove Iowa's dependence on foreign oil. It would put $100 million into researching renewable energy and alternative fuel options, and create technology and manufacturing jobs in the areas of bio-diesel, ethanol and wind energy, he has said.
"Many of the next generation of good jobs and industries that we want to bring to Iowa and help expand in Iowa are those alternative energy and renewable energy industries that will someday fuel the world," Culver said when he announced his run for governor.
In the June 6 Democratic primary, Culver beat three other candidates by garnering 39 percent of the vote, 5 percentage points ahead of his next closest competitor, according to The Washington Post.
Prior to his current post, Culver was a high school government and history teacher and coach at Hoover High School in Des Moines.
Culver graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1988 and received a master's degree in teaching from Drake University in 1994.
He grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, McGregor, Iowa and Washington, D.C., since his father served in the House from 1965 to 1974 and the Senate from 1974 to 1980, according to his Web site.
Culver and his wife Mariclare live in Des Moines.
Web site: www.chetculver.com