Branstad had previously not taken a position on the impeachment drive, saying that it was the business of another branch of government, though he had also attacked the Democratic state Senate majority leader for refusing to hold a vote on a state constitutional amendment to re-outlaw gay marriage.
This past November, Iowa voters removed three state Supreme Court justices who had faced up-or-down retention elections, and who were heavily targeted by conservatives for their role in the unanimous 2009 ruling that legalized same marriage in the state.
Republicans made significant gains in the elections as well, with the former governor Branstad, who retired in 1998, coming back to defeat the incumbent Democratic Gov. Chet Culver. Republicans also took control of the Iowa state House of Representatives, while the Democrats narrowly held on to the state Senate.