By Catherine Lucey
DES MOINES — Two of Gov. Terry Branstad’s nominees to the Board of Regents were rejected Monday by the Iowa Senate.
Board President Craig Lang, whose tenure has troubled Democrats, and Robert Cramer, a socially conservative businessman from Grimes, did not receive the two-thirds majority needed for confirmation. Both fell short, as senators voted 30-20 to confirm Lang and 27-23 to confirm Cramer.
Branstad’s third nominee to the board, Webster City physician Subhash Sahai, won confirmation easily in a 45-5 vote.
Members of the Democratic-majority Senate had already made clear that Lang and Cramer did not have the votes for confirmation to the nine-member board that oversees the state’s three public universities.
Democrats said during Monday’s debate that Lang and Cramer posed a threat to academic freedom.
“We believe it is a time for a change in leadership on the board. This is not about Democrats versus Republicans,” Sen. Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames who chairs the Senate education committee, said in his remarks about Lang.
Republicans argued in favor of the nominations.