By PETER HUSSMANN
Several commenters on the post about Bob Vander Plaats' stop in Newton later this month on his 99-county "Momentum Tour" questioned the business wisdom of the local Pizza Ranch franchise operators for allowing him a venue to beat what they consider his divisive drum.
Several said (though I did not put up - yet) that his presence at the Pizza Ranch would dissuade them in the future from frequenting the establishment.
The number of such comments got me to wondering if there was some sort of link between Vander Plaats and Pizza Ranch. (The iternary for the first two weeks of the tour show him making stops at seven different Pizza Ranchs.)
Sure enough, there is.
Iowa political reporters often joked on their blogs during Vander Plaats' short run for governor last year that if you wanted to find him the best place to look was the local Pizza Ranch. The reason being, not that he didn't like the pizza or the handy meeting rooms to meet with supporters, was that Vander Plaats and the founder of the Iowa pizza chain are old high school buddies from Hull.
According to the pizzeria's web site, Pizza Ranch was started in 1981, the brainchild of Adrie Groeneweg, who was just 19 at the time.
And from a look at recent campaign finance reports, Groeneweg supported Vander Plaats' run for governor, to the tune of a $5,000 donation last year.
What likely further cements the two men's relationship can be found in the Pizza Ranch vision statement: "To glorify God by positively impacting the world we live in."
So, based on his Pizza Ranch connection, here's a list of where Vander Plaats will likely be headed soon.
As far as the business wisdom of the local Pizza Ranch franchisee's, I'm guessing they don't have much choice.