Rathje joins GOP primary to face Loebsack (updated)

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.

  • Never voted for Loebsack

    His voting record is far too partisan and he strikes me as Kucinich without the guts to go out and grandstand.  I voted for Miller Meek in 2008 and will do so again if she is nominated.  Chris Reed is a no go and a complete fringe guy.  I like Duncan Hunter’s stance on trade issues and buying American and I am more conservative on immigration than most but I got the impression that Rathje was a nutjob last time.  I will have to do some reading.  It is tough to go to Democratic events and I have to explain to everyone why I don’t have a Loebsack button as they try and me one.

    In case you were wondering I voted a straight Dem ticket in 2006 and 2008 except for Dave.  In my dreamworld Loebsack will be forced into a primary against Boswell.  My dreams will never happen.  Leonard will never be my Congressman again,  I must say, Dave’s constituent services have improved, he answered my letter this year.  (:    

    • the difference between

      Braley’s, Loebsack’s and Boswell’s voting records is minimal, especially since the 2008 election. I am not sure where you get the idea that Loebsack is like Kucinich.

      • Good point

        I know Leonard shifted his voting record to the left, it is hard to say whether he did this to get more help from the DCCC and to fend off the left wing from another crazy challenging him in the primary.  Leonard has a lot of street cred with me being a Blue Dog Democrat because they actually have to think before they vote.  Braley is better at defending his record that Loebsack because he at least is out front on stuff.  I just viewed Loebsack’s election as a fluke just because he has a D behind his name allowed him to win in 2006. and he’s a real lapdog for a partisan agenda instead of the independent voice of Jim Leach.  

        Johnson, Linn and Lee (my county) are so Democratic he’ll never have a thing to worry about.  I just view him as a California guy who’s voting record and views fit Pete Stark’s district.  Yes, he’s from Iowa, but his heart lies in California.  I guess I just want more businesspeople or job creators as opposed to college professors as our nominees so we can get the economy going again.  Dave is just there for a vote.

        I genuinely don’t think the man even attempts to read the bills before he votes.  He was rude to people at town halls, I know the man is smarter than most of his students were, but you can’t talk down to constituents.

        • the DCCC doesn't care

          they will spend money on behalf of Walt Minnick (ID-01), who voted against the stimulus bill, health care reform and climate change legislation.

          Blue Dogs claim to be for fiscal responsibility, but they never hesitate to vote for blank checks for increased spending on war—they only complain when progressives want to increase spending to do something good.

          Furthermore, the changes Blue Dogs demanded in the climate change and health care reform bills actually made the bills more expensive for the government, revealing that Blue Dogs care more about protecting corporate interests than reducing the deficit.

          • We're going to have to agree to disagree on corporations

            Corporations are not necessarily always a bad thing given that they are employers and I tend to believe that private sector jobs tend to bring more revenue than public sector jobs.  Walt Minnick’s a good dude and he is certainly the best we can get in that district.  He voted against the AWFUL Stupak Amendment and that took some guts given some of the people he represents.

            Leonard voted for both pieces of legislation and although I disagree with both votes he did make one of them more employer friendly.  We need more private sector jobs, not less.

  • How would a social moderate be defined? And is there such a person

    in district two Republican politics?

    The reason I ask is that for a group that encompasses 40% of the population right now, the GOP gets the majority of air time and press coverage not only in Iowa but throughout the country. And the range of views that seems to be allowed in that group is very narrow.

    The few Republicans I know any more have changed their views to conform over the years. So it appears that the GOP only tolerates a narrow range. Therefore, is there any Republican of stature that could mount a run that would be considered moderate?

    On another note, I certainly don’t find Loebsack to be highly partisan. What I will say about Loebsack is that he is out and about the district nearly every weekend making himself quite available to all constituents.  

    • I define a social moderate

      as pro-choice first and foremost, and not demonizing civil rights for gays and lesbians. There are social moderates in the Republican rank and file, especially in Johnson and Linn Counties, but no Republican running for office in Iowa can express those opinions anymore.

      I don’t live in the second district, but I’ve heard that Loebsack is very accessible, as you say.

  • Reed can never get elected anywhere in this district or statewide

    He would have to move to King’s district and the people there will love him.  

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