Judging by the comments in this thread, Bleeding Heartland readers are eager to discuss who should take on Republican Rod Blum in the next election to represent Iowa’s first Congressional district.
Blum should be a one-termer. Unofficial results show he beat Pat Murphy by about 7,000 votes (51.2 percent to 48.7 percent) in a banner year for Iowa Republicans. Democratic turnout should be much higher for a presidential election than it was this year. Blum’s record in Congress will also make him an easier target for the next Democratic opponent. He didn’t campaign like an extreme right-winger, but he’s about to start voting like one, which will hurt him with independents. The next Paul Ryan budget (which Blum will support) will include big cuts to entitlement programs. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Blum help House Republicans shut down the federal government again.
Who should be the next Democratic nominee in IA-01? My first thoughts are after the jump.
From the moment I heard Tom Harkin was retiring, my dream candidate for this district has been Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum. However, it sounds as if she would be more open to a future run for governor than for Congress. We couldn’t do better than Jochum for a gubernatorial candidate in 2018, in my opinion.
Last year, many Democrats hoped State Senator Liz Mathis would run for Bruce Braley’s seat in Congress. She opted out because her youngest child was finishing high school. That wouldn’t be an issue for a 2016 race. One problem, though: running for Congress would force Mathis to vacate Iowa Senate district 34 in the Cedar Rapids suburbs. The GOP would surely target that district, and with a 26-24 Iowa Senate majority, Democrats can’t afford to lose any seats.
Several of this year’s Democratic candidates may want to take another shot at IA-01. I feel Murphy had his chance and should let someone else take on Blum next cycle. I suspect Monica Vernon and Swati Dandekar (the second- and third-place candidates from the 2014 primary) would wait to see whether Mathis is running, since all three women have a base in Linn County. Although I think highly of former State Representative Anesa Kajtazovic, Iowa voters will look for someone with more professional and/or political experience than two terms in the state House.
I would rather see a competitive Democratic primary in IA-01 than one candidate anointed early to take on Blum.
Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.
P.S. – A post is in progress about how Blum managed to beat Murphy. Short version: 1) Republican wave year, 2) A skillful marketing campaign focused on Blum’s personal attributes, rather than policy stands, 3) Effective use of a video that didn’t reflect Murphy’s typical demeanor but made him look like a raving lunatic.