IA-02 update: Loebsack moving, Republicans declaring

Representative Dave Loebsack has closed on a new house in Iowa City, a move that will enable him to run for re-election next year in Iowa's second Congressional district. The new map of political boundaries put Loebsack's longtime Linn County home in the first district, represented by fellow Democrat Bruce Braley. Loebsack announced plans to move into IA-02 the first day Iowa's map was proposed.

Loebsack said he chose Iowa City in order to be close to his son, daughter-in-law and grandchild. Johnson County has the second-largest population in the new IA-02 and is Iowa's most Democratic-leaning county by far, with more than twice as many Democrats as Republicans. As of July 2011, the county dominated by Iowa City and its suburbs contained 40,177 registered Democrats, 18,275 Republicans and 31,927 no-party voters.

Since winning the 2006 election, Loebsack has represented Iowa's current IA-02, which has a partisan voting index of D+7. In other words, in last two presidential elections, the current IA-02 voted about seven points more Democratic than the national average. Loebsack won re-election in 2008 by more than a 20-point margin against Mariannette Miller-Meeks, but he was sweating it last fall. Both his campaign and the and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put up negative television commercials against repeat GOP nominee Miller-Meeks (see here, here and here). Loebsack ended up winning by a 51.0 percent to 45.9 percent margin.

The new IA-02 has a partisan voting index of about D+4. According to the Iowa Secretary of State's office, the Congressional district contained 503,218 active registered voters as of July 2011: 178,562 registered Democrats, 139,359 Republicans, and 184,692 no-party voters.

Not only does Loebsack's new district lean slightly less Democratic, the incumbent has never represented its most populous county. Scott County includes the Iowa side of the Quad Cities. As of July 2011, it contained 36,303 registered Democrats, 30,305 Republicans and 46,914 no-party voters. Braley lost Scott County in his narrow 2010 win over Republican Ben Lange in IA-01. Lange said in May that he will not move to IA-02 to challenge Loebsack. He has not ruled out a rematch against Braley in the new IA-01.

On July 6, Republican John Archer announced that he has filed paperwork to run for Congress in IA-02. Archer lives in Bettendorf, one of the Quad Cities, and is senior legal counsel for the John Deere company. He also serves on the Pleasant Valley school board. So far Archer's campaign website has only buttons for donors and volunteers and a link to the candidate's Facebook page. After the jump I've posted the full text of his campaign announcement.

Last month another Scott County Republican, Dan Dolan of Blue Grass, said he would challenge Loebsack in 2012.

Dolan, who has operated Dan Dolan Homes in Davenport for 20 years, said his decision to run is motivated by frustration with what he describes as "professional politicians." [...] Dolan is upset with the nation's accumulation of debt and what he sees as an unwillingness by those already in office to do anything about it. [...]

Dolan said the recent congressional redistricting in Iowa helped motivate him to consider running for office. He noted that the new district boundaries comprise a large portion of the areas where his company has a presence with housing developments.

According to dandolanhomes.com, Dolan's company has housing developments in Davenport, Muscatine, Blue Grass, Clinton, LeClaire and Iowa City.

Democratic-leaning Clinton County is the third most-populous in the new IA-02, and Loebsack has not represented that county before either. Braley carried Clinton against Lange in 2010.

UPDATE: Tea party activist Richard Gates announced plans last month to run for the Republican nomination in IA-02. He is a veteran and machinist from Keokuk (Lee County), and also midwest administrator for the conservative group 912 Patriots for Action. Inspired by Glenn Beck, he became active in politics in early 2009. He supports replacing all income and corporate taxes with a consumption tax (the so-called "fair tax" reform). During the last election cycle, Gates endorsed Chris Reed, who finished third out of four candidates in the IA-02 primary.

Lee County leans Democratic, but it has one of the highest unemployment rates in Iowa. Loebsack barely led Miller-Meeks there in 2010.

July 6, 2011:

Archer Files Paperwork to Run for Congress

For immediate release: Contact: John Archer, 563-340-8461

(Bettendorf, IA) Today, John Archer announced that he has filed the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, creating an official campaign committee in order to seek the Republican nomination in Iowa's newly created 2nd Congressional District.

"I've taken this first step, because it's time for the United States to get serious about winning the future, and I'm ready to lead. We can no longer accept congressional representation that spends us into bankruptcy or a president who sees business regulation as the solution to the nation's ills," said Archer.

Archer, Senior Legal Counsel for John Deere continued, "In the long run, countries who keep their financial house in order, protect the freedoms of its people and promote free enterprises will win the future. "

Archer, who has actively been traveling the new second district, concluded, "The reception and support has been great thus far. Iowans are anxious for new representation in Congress that will focus on creating good paying jobs, halting out-of-control spending and defending our constitutionally protected freedoms."

A formal campaign announcement will follow in the coming weeks. The campaign website is www.ArcherforCongress.com.

Archer resides in Bettendorf, Iowa with his wife, Andrea, and their two children. John works at John Deere as a Senior Legal Counsel. Archer also serves on the Pleasant Valley School Board and the Bettendorf Family Museum Board of Directors.

  • Good write up

    I live in Keokuk.  People have been hurting here before I was born and I'm 24.  We still have a lot of blue collar Democrats here.  Richard Gates is not the person who will solve our unemployment issues.  I hope Archer wins their nomination because he strikes me as the best candidate to at least have a rational discussion on the issues with.  Gates has very few actual ties to the area and will just carry on about irrelevant subjects.

    Dolan sounded a little reluctant to even get in the race according to what I have read so far.  

    • hard to see Gates winning the nomination

      if a strong Scott County candidate is in the race. But if several Scott County Republicans split the primary vote, who knows? If I were a Republican, I would want to nominate someone from the Quad Cities area for this district.

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