Last week attorney Ben Lange of Independence told Ed Tibbetts of the Quad-City Times that he will run against two-term incumbent Bruce Braley in Iowa's first Congressional district. According to Tibbetts, Lange will make a formal announcement next month and was collecting signatures for his nominating petitions at the January 23 Republican caucuses. Before returning to Iowa to raise a family, Lange worked in Washington for Representative John Kline of Minnesota.
Iowa's first district has a partisan index of D+5, and Braley was re-elected with 64 percent of the vote in 2008. Even if 2010 turns out to be a Republican wave election (and it's sure starting to look that way), I doubt Braley is in danger in a district with 35,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans. But voicing what Republicans across the country must be feeling, Lange told Tibbetts, "If it can happen in Massachusetts, it can happen in eastern Iowa."
In October, businessman and columnist Rod Blum of Dubuque announced plans to run against Braley, but I've heard virtually nothing about him since. I noticed that Blum did not file a year-end financial report with the Federal Election Commission, suggesting that either he is not running, or he has raised less than $5,000.
Braley's FEC filing indicated that during the fourth quarter of 2009 he raised $172,670 and spent $80,319. At the end of the year his campaign committee had $538,008 cash on hand and owed $21,657 in debts.