IA-01: How much will the Liberty movement help Rod Blum?

Yesterday Dubuque-based business owner Rod Blum formally announced his candidacy in the Republican primary to represent Iowa's first Congressional district. The same day, he received the endorsement of the Liberty Iowa PAC, formed two years ago by supporters of Ron Paul's presidential campaign. Both announcements are after the jump, along with my first thoughts on how much the Liberty movement could help Blum in the GOP primary.

Blum posted his announcement on his campaign website, RodBlum.com.

Dubuque businessman, Rod Blum, today announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination to Congress from Iowa's First Congressional District. Blum, a first time candidate in 2012, ran in the Republican primary and nearly upset nominee Ben Lange in a very close race 52% - 47%.

Citing widespread grassroots support and calls for him to run, Blum wrote in an email to voters in the First District, "with so many critical issues facing our country and the support of so many throughout Eastern Iowa, I have decided to enter the race to represent Iowa's First District in the United States Congress."

Also important to Blum was the issue of returning control back to local communities from Washington.  "I will fight to keep more of our tax dollars in Iowa so those dollars may strengthen our schools, our infrastructure and our communities.  Keeping your tax dollars here, keeps accountability here, where you have more control how and where they are spent."

Blum is a native of Dubuque. He received his undergraduate degree in Business from Loras College and his M.B.A. from the University of Dubuque. Following school he took a job in the computer industry and was C.E.O. of a software development company which eventually went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange.  Blum has also been honored as Iowa High-Tech Entrepreneur of the Year by the prestigious award program sponsored by Ernst & Young. He currently is an owner of Digital Canal Software and is also a real estate developer.

A formal campaign event kickoff is planned for later this summer.

More information can be found at RodBlum.com.


Full Text of the announcement email below -

To the Voters of the First District:

The country we all love is in crisis.  Tenets that made America the greatest country on Earth are under attack. Personal responsibility, fiscal sanity, the sanctity of life, constitutionally limited government and economic freedom are out of fashion in Washington DC.  We all suffer when these principles are abandoned.

Most in Washington believe in the power of the government - I believe in the power of the individual, freedom and liberty.   Millions of Americans, doing what's best for their families every day, are the miracle of the free market system.  This system of economic freedom has given our families the highest standard of living in the world.  But in the last decade of big government, more regulations and out of control government spending has resulted in lower incomes, higher costs and a smaller middle class.

Perhaps the greatest threat to Iowan families is our ever increasing national debt.  Our leaders in Washington are addicted to spending and their fiscal insanity threatens to destroy our country.  Our national debt has grown by 50% under President Obama and is now a staggering $142,000 per household and is on track to be an astounding $227,000 for every family in Iowa by 2023!  Our children and grandchildren should not start out their adult lives with this huge debt on their backs because we didn't have the courage to deal with it.

The solution doesn't lie in ever-increasing taxes and spending; in fact federal tax revenues are projected to set an all-time record this year.  As President Reagan often said, "We can't spend our way to prosperity".  He understood that real and lasting prosperity can only be generated through free enterprise in the private sector.  There is simply not a way to raise taxes high enough to balance current spending levels.  The only answer is to send people to Washington who will vote to STOP the out-of-control spending, keep our markets free, and return our country to the limited government mandated by the Constitution.

When I traveled throughout the First District during my 2012 campaign, it confirmed my belief that there is something special about Iowans.  I have been humbled by the number of these Iowans who have reached out to me, asking me to run.  With this outpouring of grassroots support, and the critical issues facing our country, I have decided to enter the race to represent Iowa's First District in the United States Congress. I will carry the message of Thomas Jefferson to Washington when he said "the government that governs the best is closest to the people."  I will fight to lessen the influence Washington has over our lives here in Iowa.  I will fight to keep more of our tax dollars in Iowa so those dollars may strengthen our schools, our infrastructure and our communities.  Keeping your tax dollars here, keeps accountability here, where you have more control how and where they are spent.

Changing Washington will not be easy.  But rest assured I am not interested in becoming a career politician; rather I will go to Washington with a passion and belief that we can restore the principles and tenets that made America great.  I ask you to join our team today - TOGETHER we can make Iowan families stronger and brighten the future for many generations to come.

Liberty Iowa Endorses Blum for U.S. Congress

PAC rallies Liberty Movement in support of Dubuque businessman

Wednesday, March 27th 2013      

Des Moines, Iowa - Liberty Iowa has renewed its support of Rod Blum for U.S. Congress in Iowa's first congressional district.  Blum, who announced his candidacy today, earned the PAC's support in 2012 as well, when his run ended with a narrow primary loss to Ben Lange.

"I'm thankful to accept the support of Liberty Iowa, and I believe that their endorsement highlights my unshakable commitment to protecting the civil liberties and Constitutional rights of Iowans who are concerned about the unchecked growth of government," said Blum.

Liberty Iowa, a state PAC that will celebrate its first anniversary in April, has quickly become a leading voice on issues like agricultural freedom and domestic drone use, and boasts a wide network of conservative and libertarian-leaning activists throughout the state.  Adil Khan, Executive Director of LIPAC, believes that network will be a critical part of deciding the upcoming congressional election.  "The nation is witnessing a surge of support for principled leaders willing to stand for the liberties of everyday Americans," said Khan.  "Rod is that kind of leader, and we are going to work to bring the youth and enthusiasm of the Liberty Movement to bear for him in the first district."

Blum, who garnered 47% of the primary vote last year despite being a first-time candidate, acknowledges the importance of appealing to young liberty-minded voters as well as traditional fiscal and social conservatives.  "The Liberty Movement has gained a tremendous amount of momentum among Republicans and Independents, and I want to invite voters from across the spectrum of conservatism to join me in fighting for limited government, sound money, and a responsible foreign policy," said Blum.

Liberty Iowa currently has active chapters in 13 counties within the first district, including the population centers of Linn, Dubuque, and Blackhawk.

During the 2012 Republican primary in IA-01, Ben Lange raised far more money, hired a larger campaign staff, and had far more establishment support in Iowa and nationally than Blum did. Nevertheless, the results were surprisingly close.

Blum declined to endorse a presidential candidate before the 2012 Iowa caucuses and did not even spend caucus night in his home county. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, he did win the Liberty Iowa PAC's support before the IA-01 primary.

In contrast, Lange jumped on Rick Santorum's bandwagon early and appeared at many Santorum campaign events around the first district in late 2011. I thought it would be interesting to compare Iowa caucus results with 2012 IA-01 primary results. Blum's best-performing counties did not overlap with Ron Paul strongholds.

For this table, I took 2012 Iowa caucus results from here and results for the June 2012 primary in IA-01 from the Iowa Secretary of State's website (pdf).

County Caucus votes for Paul Caucus votes for Romney Caucus votes for Santorum 2012 votes for Lange 2012 votes for Blum
Allamakee 157 106 77 1,143 829
Benton 202 184 290 482 380
Black Hawk 870 835 774 1,737 1,269
Bremer 194 249 215 695 578
Buchanan 66 78 133 673 129
Clayton 198 116 110 248 262
Delaware 107 115 146 540 194
Dubuque 665 826 627 910 1,609
Fayette 134 136 172 1,025 483
Howard 34 51 108 111 100
Iowa 151 110 198 191 178
Jackson 163 139 92 202 196
Jones 167 200 180 331 222
Linn 2,089 2,530 1,818 2,106 2,238
Marshall 315 365 373 800 1,140
Mitchell 96 44 68 184 291
Poweshiek 197 116 155 427 318
Tama 126 132 148 462 352
Winnishiek 174 149 136 602 414
Worth 31 34 46 348 369
total 6,136 6,515 5,866 13,217 11,551

The table above does not include all of the Iowa caucus results. In some of the IA-01 counties, Newt Gingrich did well. Still, it's clear that turnout was larger for the June 2012 primary than for the Iowa caucus in January, and there is no obvious correlation between support for Ron Paul and for Rod Blum.

Lange has not indicated whether he will run for Congress a third time in IA-01. If he does, he may not receive as much backing from the establishment as he did in 2012. So far Blum's only definite competition in the IA-01 primary is Steve Rathje. Both men will run on a similar platform of "I know how to run a business, which helps me understand how to run the country."

Any comments about the IA-01 race are welcome in this thread.

  • Blum

    Blum seems fairly authentic.  I don't know if he's been getting loans, grants, subsidies or whatever for his business, but I presume he hasn't.

    He's not like Lange or Frank Guinta for example who talk the talk, but don't actually walk the walk when it comes to making a payroll.  

    I presume someone a little more establishment will get into the race.  I think Blum will be a force no matter who else gets in however.  Blum doesn't speak in generalities, he's named programs and specific changes he'd like to make.  I kind of wish more people would have the guts to do that.  

    • agree on all counts

      At least one more Republican will enter the IA-01 primary. I think Blum's chances are better than Rathje's in any scenario.

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