Cedar Rapids-based businessman Steve Rathje confirmed on January 2 that he will run for Congress in Iowa’s second district. A press release posted to his Facebook page emphasizes his experience cutting waste and creating jobs as a business owner. He is scheduling appearances around the district for later this month, and his campaign website is here.
Rathje is best known as one of the Republican candidates in the 2008 U.S. Senate primary. He finished third but not far behind Christopher Reed and George Eichhorn. His website indicates that he will be running as a more conservative alternative to Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who was Congressman Dave Loebsack’s opponent in 2008 and is running again this year.
Rathje and Reed will have an uphill battle in the primary, as they will be splitting the votes of Republicans for whom Miller-Meeks isn’t right-wing enough. I doubt either of them can beat her, but Reed probably has a better chance to make the primary competitive than Rathje. Not only has Reed already announced his candidacy in IA-02 and lined up a bunch of county coordinators, he has also received quite a few wingnut endorsements: former presidential candidates Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter, the National 9/12 Patriots, the Minutemen Patriots and America’s Independent Party.
Any thoughts on the upcoming campaign in IA-02 are welcome in this thread. I still find it remarkable that there isn’t a social moderate running in the GOP primary in this D+7 district.
UPDATE: John Deeth took a closer look at Reed’s county chair list and noticed Johnson County supervisor candidate Lori Cardella. When I clicked on the list again, I saw that Reed’s Jefferson County chair is Stephen Burgmeier, the unsuccessful GOP candidate in last year’s special election in Iowa House district 90.