IA-03: Mike Sherzan first Democrat to announce

Democrat Mike Sherzan announced today that he is running for Congress in Iowa’s third district. I’ve enclosed his press release after the jump, along with excerpts from Sherzan’s comments to the National Journal. He’s on Facebook here and on Twitter here. For now, the Sherzan for Iowa website is only set up to collect donations and the names of volunteers.

Bleeding Heartland covered Sherzan’s biography in this post. If Republican incumbent Tom Latham decides to run for the open U.S. Senate seat, I expect several other Democrats to run in the IA-03 primary, including possibly State Senator Matt McCoy. Otherwise, the field may be clear for Sherzan to take on Latham, which will be an uphill battle. On paper, this looks like a swing district, with 159,939 active registered Democrats, 166,109 Republicans, and 157,442 no-party voters as of February 2013. But Latham consistently outperforms the top of the Republican ticket and gained more votes than Mitt Romney in every IA-03 county last November.

February 11, 2013:


“The old Washington ways aren’t working. It’s time for a new approach to break through the gridlock and get something done.”

Des Moines, IA – Iowa small businessman, Democrat Mike Sherzan announced today that he is filing the necessary paperwork for a campaign for Congress in Iowa’s Third Congressional District.

Sherzan is a small business leader with a proven track record of growing businesses from the ground-up — while creating jobs and opportunity here in Iowa.

Sherzan began working in financial services over 35 years ago and today is the president and chief executive officer of Broker Dealer Financial Services Corp. The firm is now one of the largest independent broker dealers in the state. Starting first as a commercial carpet salesman after graduating from the University of Iowa, Sherzan then became an investment advisor and eventually started his own small business. From a small office in central Iowa, Sherzan went on to create hundreds of jobs in Iowa and nationwide as a full service investment firm and insurance agency.

Mike Sherzan said, “Raised by my parents in Iowa — a salesman and a clerical worker — they taught me the importance of hard work, opportunity, and community. That’s what Iowa has always been about. That everyone deserves a fair shot at the American dream. Somewhere along the way, too many in Washington have forgotten that. Instead, they’ve become part of the problem, putting special interests first, ahead of the middle class. They spend their time trying to push through a radical agenda, instead of growing jobs, strengthening Social Security and Medicare, and creating greater opportunity. I look forward to meeting with people all across Iowa, working together to begin to break through the old Washington ways, and instead solving problems to move Iowa forward – together.”

Mike resides in West Des Moines with his wife of 35 years – Susan. They have three children and four grandchildren all living here in Iowa.

For more information, go to: www.sherzanforiowa.com

From Alex Brown’s article for the National Journal:

“This guy’s 20 years into that position; most people can’t tell you what he stands for,” Sherzan said in a phone interview Monday, shortly after announcing his candidacy. Sherzan made clear what his campaign themes will be — bolstering middle class wages and protecting the social safety net. “The middle class and what’s going on with jobs and the economy are very much going to be in the forefront,” he said. “That’s the reason I’m a Democrat.” […]

Sherzan downplayed Latham’s magnetism with swing voters, instead tying him to the Republican Party’s “radical agenda.” Sherzan promised to reach across the aisle in the House; being a leader, he said, takes “sitting down with people that you don’t care for politically.”

So after trumpeting his bipartisanship, does Sherzan consider himself a moderate? “I’m not sure I would have a label at this point,” he said. “People can decide for themselves what they want to pin on me.” Sherzan said he’s spent time introducing himself to a “number of Democrats throughout the state,” including elected officials and labor leaders, and is hopeful he will earn some high-profile endorsements.

I agree with Sherzan that it’s hard to say what Latham stands for. Compared to the other members of Congress from Iowa, Latham is less likely to comment publicly on pending legislation or Congressional votes, and his office is by far the least responsive to media inquiries about his stance on any given issue.

  • odd move

    Seems like a strange move to me. I understand that he is a self funder that can run with little or no fundraising, but is he really the best we can do. I’m sure most of the serious candidates are scared of Latham so someone needs to step up. There are plenty of elected officials in Polk County that could run. I don’t think we should waste this cycle on a businessman that nobody has ever heard of. If he were a Party activist and community leader instead of just some rich guy from out of nowhere then I would feel better.  

    • I don't think people are beating down the doors

      for the chance to run against Latham. I agree that we’d be better off with a candidate who could start with more name recognition.

  • Primary

    They’ll be a primary and people can flush out their ideas.  We will see if Sherzan really has what it takes in that primary.  John Delaney in Maryland won the primary, now we will see more private sector job growth in Delaney’s district because of his background?  I have no idea.

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