Paging the women of IA-01

Seventy-six countries around the world have a higher percentage of women in their national legislatures than the United States. Iowa is one of very few states that has never sent a woman to Congress. The open seat in Iowa’s first Congressional district is a perfect chance to leave Mississippi in the dust. Yet so far, no women have announced plans to run for the seat Bruce Braley is vacating. Three men are in the race for sure: Pat Murphy, Steve Rathje, and Rod Blum. Steve Sodders is strongly considering it and visited Washington last week to talk with Democrats about the race. UPDATE: Sodders has ruled out running for Congress.

The last time IA-01 was open, four Democratic men and three Republican men sought to replace Jim Nussle. Are we looking at a repeat?

For years, academic researchers have shown that “when women run for office, they perform just as well as men.” But they don’t run for office as often as men do for lots of reasons. A new study suggests that from a young age, women are less likely than men to consider running for office someday (full report here).

Iowa Democratic Party leaders should be working to recruit a top-tier female candidate in IA-01, a Democratic-leaning seat that presents the best opportunity of my lifetime to send a woman to Congress. But that’s not going to happen when party chair Tyler Olson is thinking about running for Congress himself. Republican Party of Iowa leaders should also be looking for a strong woman candidate to capitalize on Democrats’ strategic error. I doubt that “liberating” thought would ever cross the minds of the “Liberty” gang running the Iowa GOP.

Sisters are going to have to do it for ourselves. Whether that’s the “50-50 in 2020” organization co-chaired by former women elected officials and candidates or some informal group of political activists, it’s time to identify and encourage women to step up to the plate in IA-01–before the early declared candidates get a large advantage in fundraising and endorsements.

  • Assuming Liz takes a pass....

    …are you listening, Anesa Kajtazovic?  Great personal story, sharp young woman. Where do I send the check?

  • Best candidate

    I do agree there are well qualified women in the 1st District that would be great candidates. I know this might ruffle some feathers, but Democrats need to find the best candidate, not the best women candidate.  Mathis, Jochum, and Anesa are good candidates, but so are Murphy, Tyler Olson, and Steve Sodders.

    Tossing this out there…what if Dawn Pettengill or Renee Schulte run on the Republican side.  Will they get support from 50-50 in 2020 across party lines?

    • Murphy, Olson, and Sodders are all fine

      But if Democrats are going to nominate a man, it better be someone with the potential to be the very best in Congress, like Paul Wellstone or Henry Waxman.

      Dawn Pettengill doesn’t strike me as a strong candidate. Don’t know about Renee Schulte–maybe. Republicans would probably nominate someone with more of a corporate background. I don’t know who in IA-01 would be a Mary Andringa kind of Republican.  

      • Waxman?

        All he does is run his committee like a tyrant.  Hopefully IA-1 would find someone more civil and less of a camera hog.  Of course I think many environmentalists aren’t exactly kind to the people who are debating them on the issues.  

        • thanks to Waxman's hard work

          over more than a decade we finally got the Clean Air Act when Poppy was president. He is much more effective than the average House Democrat. His hand has been in a lot of other important legislation too.

          • Waxman

            You’ve made that point about Waxman before.  I guess we may look for different things out of a legislator because I think he loves to piss people off and rub the noses of his political enemies in it, whether it does damage or not.  Every time you cite Waxman I’m going to call him out.  

  • OMG!

    Dawn P?  This is a joke, right ?  She’s one of those people who want to do away with municipal planning because it is a UN plot to end property rights as we know it. I’m sure there are some good female GOPers but let’s get serious.

    • Pettengill and Schulte

      They were the only two female Republican legislators in the 1st District that I could think of.  In no way to I mean that they would be good in Congress or that they are good at the state house.

      • Republicans often look outside the legislature

        and nominate people with a corporate background for Congress. That’s where I would be looking if I were AJ Spiker.  But he’s not going to be looking, because the “Liberty” movement is behind Rod Blum already.

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