Moderate Republican joins the race against Boswell

Three conservative Republicans have already announced plans to run against Representative Leonard Boswell in Iowa’s third Congressional district, and today retired architect Mark Rees of West Des Moines threw his hat in the ring too. William Petroski reports for the Des Moines Register:

Rees said he isn’t criticizing Democratic President Barack Obama or individual members of Congress.

“It’s not that I support what is and has been happening in Washington because I don’t any more than my fellow candidates,” Rees said in prepared remarks. “But it serves no legitimate purpose to craft politically motivated, emotionally driven statements laced with selected statistics promoting and promising unrealistic, unachievable results.” […]

Rees said he supports a federal balanced budget amendment, expanded job creation tax credits, capital investment tax credits for new equipment and facilities expansion and developing market import loan programs. He favors stronger border security, but wants to provide immigrants with a path to citizenship.

In addition, Rees said he wants to protect marriage between a man and a woman, but also believes in civil unions. He also favors cost-effective efforts to cap carbon emissions, but he does not support programs to allow pollution credits to be traded or purchased by any entity other than the government.

He said he supports expanding alternative energy programs through investment tax credit programs and a progressive tax structure that includes a vanishing long-term capital gains tax, a tiered short-term capital gains tax, a specialized market trading surtax, and a targeted short-sales capital gains tax.

I have no idea whether Rees can self-fund or raise enough money to run a credible campaign during the primary. Dave Funk, Jim Gibbons and Brad Zaun will be competing to see who’s the most conservative, so it’s conceivable that a moderate could sneak through next June with a strong showing in the Des Moines suburbs.

If any of the other candidates drop out before then, though, I would put extremely long odds on GOP primary voters selecting someone who believes in civil unions for same-sex couples or a path to citizenship for immigrants who came to this country illegally.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that while West Des Moines is the largest suburb of Des Moines and one of the larger cities in IA-03, many of the newest and wealthiest neighborhoods in West Des Moines lie in Dallas County, which is part of IA-04.

TUESDAY UPDATE: According to The Iowa Republican blog, Pat Bertroche is campaigning for this seat but has not filed paperwork with the FEC yet. So that would make five candidates if Bertroche goes forward.

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Dream scenario: A primary challenger for Grassley

Angry social conservatives are speculating that Senator Chuck Grassley could face a primary challenge in 2010. The religious right has been dissatisfied with Grassley for a long time (see here and here).

After the Iowa Supreme Court announced the Varnum v Brien decision, Grassley issued a statement saying he supported “traditional marriage” and had backed federal legislation and a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. But when hundreds of marriage equality opponents rallied at the state capitol last Thursday, and Republicans tried to bring a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to the Iowa House floor, Grassley refused to say whether he supported their efforts to change Iowa’s constitution:

“You better ask me in a month, after I’ve had a chance to think,” Grassley, the state’s senior Republican official, said after a health care forum in Mason City.

Grassley has supported legislation in the past decade to establish marriage as between a man and a woman, and to enact an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage. […]

“But it doesn’t have to be marriage,” he added. “There’s things like civil unions.”

Grassley said the amendment he supported left the issue of government acknowledgment of same-sex relationships, such as civil unions, up to states

to allow or ban.

Wingnut Bill Salier, who almost won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in 2002, says conservatives are becoming “more and more incensed [the] more they start to pay attention to how far [Grassley] has drifted.”

Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn denies that party activists are unhappy with Grassley. I hope Salier is right and Grassley gets a primary challenge, for reasons I’ll explain after the jump.  

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