Next spring, Iowa’s third Congressional district will see its first competitive Republican primary in some time. State Senator Brad Zaun of Urbandale told CQ Politics today that he plans to run against seven-term incumbent Representative Leonard Boswell. Zaun said he will formally announce his candidacy sometime after December 1.
Earlier today, The Iowa Republican blog reported that former Iowa State wrestling coach Jim Gibbons is quitting his job at Wells Fargo to run for Congress against Boswell. One of the previously announced candidates, Dave Funk of Runnells, indicated in this comment thread that he will stay in the race. Until this week, Funk and Pat Bertroche of Clive were the only confirmed Republican candidates against Boswell.
Zaun was just re-elected to the Iowa Senate in 2008, so he won’t have to give up his seat in the upper chamber if he loses the GOP primary or the general election.
CQ Politics suggested that with Gibbons and Zaun in the race, it may change its rating on this district from “safe Democratic.” I tend to agree with the statement that Gabby Adler of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent to CQ Politics:
“Each year Republicans claim they have Congressman Boswell in their sights, and each year they never live up to their own hype – there is no reason to believe this time will be any different,” Adler said.
As I’ve previously written, I do not consider Boswell an endangered incumbent this cycle. That said, the prospect of continuing job losses throughout 2010 could put many Democratic incumbents at risk.
What puzzles me is why so many Republicans are seeking this position. Even if a Republican beats Boswell, he is likely to be thrown into a 2012 primary against Tom Latham in a redrawn IA-03. Few people would choose a freshman over a nine-term incumbent with a seat on the House Appropriations Committee.