Walt Rogers launches GOP campaign in IA-01

State Representative Walt Rogers announced on Simon Conway’s WHO radio show this afternoon that he will seek the Republican nomination in Iowa’s first Congressional district. After the jump I’ve posted today’s announcement, along with a September 24 press release about staff hiring by the exploratory committee Rogers established a few weeks ago.

Rogers is the third declared Republican candidate in IA-01, after Steve Rathje and Rod Blum. Former State Senator and Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate sounds ready to join the race soon, and former State Representative Renee Schulte is considering it. The eventual GOP nominee will probably go into the general election as a slight underdog. According to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, the first Congressional district contains 162,238 active registered Democrats, 136,263 Republicans, and 193,958 no-party voters.

Rogers’ decision creates an open seat in Iowa House district 60, covering parts of Cedar Falls and Waterloo. I considered Rogers the favorite to be re-elected in 2014, but an open-seat race could be more competitive. President Barack Obama carried Iowa House district 60 in last year’s general election, but Republicans have a slight voter registration advantage there. Iowa politics-watchers expect Matt Reisetter, the GOP nominee in Senate district 30 last year, to seek the open seat in House district 60. My understanding is that at this time, Rogers’ 2012 Democratic nominee Bob Greenwood is not planning to run for the state legislature again.

Walt Rogers Congressional campaign announcement, October 1:

ROGERS ENTERS FIRST DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL RACE

Cedar Falls, Iowa – State Representative Walt Rogers of Cedar Falls announced today that he is entering the race for the Republican nomination for Congress in Iowa’s First Congressional District. Rogers made the announcement on Simon Conway’s WHO radio program. A web video, which has been made available on his campaign website at www.smallersmarter.org, was released shortly after.

“I’m making it official: I’m running for Congress. It’s time to take ‘smaller, smarter government’ to Washington, DC,” said Rogers. “This election needs a proven, battle-tested leader who is able to assemble the resources and the team required to win in November.”

First elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 2010 by defeating an incumbent Democrat, Rogers has risen quickly in the ranks of the Iowa House: by the end of his freshman term in office, his colleagues had already elected him to their leadership team as an Assistant Majority Leader. Rogers was also nominated by House Speaker Kraig Paulsen as one of only 15 state legislators nationwide to GOPAC’s Emerging Leaders Class of 2012; this year Rogers was named one of four co-chairs of their Emerging Leaders Summit.

According to Speaker Paulsen, “Walt Rogers is one of the hardest workers in the Iowa House.”

Rogers is known for serving as the floor manager for a number of sensitive pieces of legislation. His efforts, working in cooperation with Governor Branstad, led to the passage of an important government transparency bill which had stalled in the legislature for several years.

Rogers serves on the Appropriations, Economic Growth, Education, and Transportation committees and is the Vice Chair of the Administration and Rules Appropriations Committee.

Walt Rogers has been married to Jenny for 33 years; together they have three children and seven grandchildren. Rogers grew up in west Waterloo and currently resides in Cedar Falls.

Rogers represents House District 60, which is comprised of much of west Waterloo and southern Cedar Falls, Hudson, and southwestern rural Black Hawk County.

September 24 press release:

ROGERS EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE HIRES STAFF

CEDAR FALLS – State Representative Walt Rogers’ Congressional Exploratory Committee has taken an additional step toward a possible campaign by hiring three staff members.

Justin Bartlett, who has managed all of Rogers’ state legislative campaigns as well as Matt Reisetter’s 2012 Iowa Senate campaign, has been retained to oversee the Exploratory Committee and will serve as Campaign Manager if Rogers enters the Congressional race.

Waterloo native Josh Wilson has been brought on as Director of Operations. Wilson has previously worked as Public Liaison to the Governor in the Branstad/Reynolds administration and as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. He has also spent time in the office of Senator Charles Grassley and worked on several state and local campaigns.

Nate Hohnstein will serve as the organization’s Field Director. Hohnstein, a Cedar Falls native, has previously worked as the Northeast Iowa Field Director for the Iowa Republicans’ House Majority Fund and as a clerk for Rep. Quentin Sanderson.

“These staff members bring the experience, the talent, and the personal connections to lay the groundwork for a possible Congressional campaign,” said Rogers. “This brings us one step closer to a full- blown campaign, and we hope to make an announcement in the coming weeks.”

Walt Rogers was first elected to the Iowa House in 2010 by defeating an incumbent Democrat. Rogers was elected by his colleagues as an Assistant Majority Leader during his first term; he currently serves on the Appropriations, Judiciary, State Government, and Transportation committees. He was reelected in 2012 to represent the new House District 60.

Walt Rogers has been married to Jenny, a speech pathologist, for 33 years; Walt and Jenny have three children and seven grandchildren. Rogers, a graduate of Waterloo Columbus High School and the University of Northern Iowa, grew up in west Waterloo and currently resides in Cedar Falls. House District 60 is comprised of much of west Waterloo and southern Cedar Falls, Hudson, and southwestern rural Black Hawk County.

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