State Senator Steve Sodders will "take a serious look" at running for the first Congressional district seat Bruce Braley is vacating. Speaking by telephone yesterday, Sodders said he is in the "very exploratory" phase, talking with different groups and individuals. He currently has no deadline for announcing his plans, but he expects to decide sometime before this summer whether to run in next year's Democratic primary.
Marshall County Deputy Sheriff Sodders was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2008. He was just re-elected to a four-year term in Senate district 36, covering Marshall and Tama counties and a small area in Black Hawk County. Consequently, he would not need to give up his Senate seat to run for Congress. In addition to serving as Senate president pro-tem, Sodders chairs the Economic Growth Committee. I've posted his official bio after the jump.
So far State Representative Pat Murphy is the only declared Democratic candidate in the first Congressional district, and Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje is the only declared Republican.
I continue to believe that Iowa Democrats should nominate a woman for this very winnable seat--preferably someone other than the woman who just voted herself a 25 percent raise. I wish Senate President Pam Jochum had not taken herself out of the running so early.
Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread. The latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State's office indicate that the 20 counties in IA-01 contain 165,428 active registered Democrats, 137,943 Republicans, and 193,674 no-party voters.
UPDATE: Sodders posted on Facebook on March 11, "Headed to Wash DC next week to talk to several groups and individuals about District 1." At the end of this post I've added more recent comments from Sodders.
From Senator Steve Sodders' official website:
Steve Sodders was elected to his second term in the Iowa Senate in 2012. He represents the people of Marshall and Tama counties, as well as La Porte City and southern parts of Black Hawk County.
Senator Sodders is Senate President Pro Tempore and chair of the Economic Growth Committee. He also serves on the Judiciary, Agriculture, Labor & Business, State Government, Veterans Affairs, and Rules & Administration committees.
Steve is a Deputy Sheriff in Marshall County and has been working in law enforcement for the last 24 years. Steve is a D.A.R.E instructor and has served as a detective on the Mid-Iowa Drug Task Force to curb drug use and abuse in central Iowa. He has also worked as a volunteer fire fighter in State Center. He serves as a field Training Officer to help new recruits.
Steve has been active with the YMCA, the Youth and Shelter Services organizations, the Iowa River Red Cross, and the Iowa Teamsters Law Enforcement League. He attends Hope United Methodist Church in Marshalltown, and belongs to the Full Moon Masonic Lodge of Melbourne.
Steve has an Associate's Degree from Iowa Valley Community College in Marshalltown and is attending Iowa State University, where he is working on a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology.
He and his wife, Carrie, have been married for 20 years and live in State Center. They have two children, Adam and Maggie.
UPDATE: Sodders spoke to Jon Ericson of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier on March 9.
"Right now I'm in the beginning phases. I've talked to some of the leaders- Senator (Tom) Harkin, Congressman Braley, Congressman (Dave) Loebsack and Sec. (Tom) Vilsack and others - and we're now looking at some organizational things and will see about viability. We're just getting started," Sodders said. [...]
According to him, he will be looking at fundraising for a competitive primary and support for a Congressional run. He doesn't expect his decision will be affected by who else decides to jump in the race.
"I don't think you run because other people are in or out, you run because you think you can do a good job for the district," Sodders said. "At this point it's going to be viability. Does my background fit this district? I think it does."
Heard a rumor that Liz Mathis is not going to run which is bad news of course.
Paging Anesa Kajtazovic? I actually agree with dmd's preference against good people giving up their seat. I don't see a woman lining up to run in the third or fourth district yet though either. Anesa has a compelling story and she should think about running.
Liz Mathis would be fine, but I don't think she's really enough of a policy wonk. I could be grossly mistaken
she should think about it
The main downside is that she would have to give up her Iowa House seat in order to run in the Congressional primary.
We have a lot of strong state legislators in the IA-01 counties, but the same issue is going to arise for any Iowa House member.
I have heard the same rumor
and I wonder whether Sodders is considering the race partly because he knows Mathis is not planning to run. Mathis told me she is keeping her options open, but she may be privately telling colleagues that she doesn't plan to run.