New IA-03 Republican candidate discussion thread

The GOP field in Iowa’s third Congressional district may soon grow to six candidates. In addition to the three Republicans who have already declared (Joe Grandanette, David Young, and Matt Schultz), State Senator Brad Zaun told conservative blogger Shane Vander Hart yesterday that he will announce his campaign after the Iowa caucuses on January 21. Two other likely Congressional candidates attended the same Iowa GOP event on January 13: Robert Cramer and Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw, who serves on the Iowa GOP’s State Central Committee. Cramer indicated last week that he is “90 percent there” in planning his campaign. A close associate of Shaw told The Iowa Republican blog that he will enter the race soon. Kevin Hall commented,

Thanks to his role with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Shaw has strong contacts with farmers and agri-business people throughout the Third District, as well as power brokers in Des Moines. Outside of Polk and Dallas counties, the Third District is mostly rural. […]

Additionally, Monte Shaw is an experienced campaign operative. He ran Jim Lightfoot’s congressional campaign in 1994, Chuck Grassley’s U.S. Senate campaign in 1998 and Elizabeth Dole’s Iowa caucus campaign in 2000. Shaw also assisted the Bob Dole and Steve Forbes presidential campaigns and chaired the SCC’s organizational committee for three years.

One well-connected Republican who won’t be running in IA-03 is David Oman, a former chief of staff to Governor Terry Branstad. I’ve posted his comment today after the jump. If Oman was too moderate to win the 1998 GOP nomination for governor, he’s way too moderate to have a prayer in any Republican primary today. Oman’s leadership of the now-defunct Iowa Rain Forest Environmental Project would also be disqualifying in a GOP primary.  

At this point I don’t expect any Republican woman to run in IA-03. I doubt State Representative Mary Ann Hanusa will give up a safe Iowa House seat in Council Bluffs to enter a crowded primary, especially with former Council Bluffs City Council member Schultz in the race. Hanusa did not respond to my recent request for comment. Branstad’s legal counsel Brenna Findley knows Congress well, having worked in Representative Steve King’s office for years. But despite rumors circulating in central Iowa, I see Findley as more likely to run for attorney general again than for Congress.  

Excerpt from a January 14 report by Jennifer Jacobs:

“My goal was to combine the best ideas from all parts of the Republican Party into a winning message for the primary and general elections,” Oman told The Des Moines Register this afternoon. “With half a dozen U.S. Senate candidates and up to seven who may contest the House seat, I am unsure it’s possible to punch through the noise with such a message.”

Oman said the prospect of a special nominating convention holds little interest for him.

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