Monica Vernon running for Congress again in IA-01

Cedar Rapids City Council member Monica Vernon announced this morning that she will run for Congress again in Iowa’s first district. I enclosed her campaign’s press release after the jump. Her official website is here, and Vernon for Congress is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Vernon finished second to Pat Murphy in the 2014 five-way Democratic primary to represent IA-01. She then became the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, while Murphy narrowly lost the general election to Republican Rod Blum.  

IA-01 is a top target for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for 2016. Among Iowa’s four districts, it is the most Democratic-leaning with a partisan voting index of D+5. According to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, the 20 counties in IA-01 contain 158,190 active registered Democrats, 135,957 Republicans, and 192,679 no-party voters. Turnout is typically about 30 percent larger in a presidential year than in a midterm and includes more voters from demographic groups expected to favor Democratic candidates.

I expect a competitive primary in IA-01 again, as Blum is considered vulnerable. Although Joni Ernst already broke Iowa’s political glass ceiling, many Democrats will want to elect their own woman to Congress, which could work in Vernon’s favor.

Among the other Democrats who ran in this district last year, only former State Senator Swati Dandekar is rumored to be seriously considering another Congressional bid. Both she and Vernon have a base in Linn County, which could create an opening for a candidate with strong appeal in either the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area or Dubuque.

During last year’s primary, some activists criticized Vernon for having been a registered Republican until 2009. Her work as Jack Hatch’s running mate should put to rest any questions about her commitment to the Democratic Party. It’s unfortunate that Governor Terry Branstad’s campaign didn’t agree to let Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds debate Vernon, though.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

UPDATE: Scroll down for the National Republican Congressional Committee’s comment on Vernon’s announcement.

From a Vernon for Congress press release, January 15:

Monica Vernon Launches Congressional Campaign

CEDAR RAPIDS – Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tempore Monica Vernon today announced her candidacy for Congress in Iowa’s First District. Vernon, who distinguished herself by leading and coordinating flood recovery efforts in Cedar Rapids in 2008 as well as leading the charge to build a shelter for homeless women and children, has a long record of accomplishment and problem-solving for Northeast Iowans.

For more information visit:

“Northeast Iowans deserve a representative in Congress with a track record of solving problems and getting results for families and small businesses across our community. That’s why I’m excited to announce my candidacy,” Vernon said. “I’m proud of my work growing a small business, helping local communities recover from a devastating flood and working to create jobs, increase access to affordable housing and improve education for students in our district.”

Having built a business from her kitchen table, Monica is a working mom who understands that the deck is stacked against the middle class.  And it’s why she is running for congress. Monica Vernon will work across the aisle to protect Social Security and Medicare, create good paying jobs for Iowans and give everyone a fair shake.

In addition to her eight years on the Cedar Rapids City Council, as the President and Founder of her own market research firm, Monica has a first-hand understanding of the needs of Northeast Iowa’s small businesses and workforce, and she’ll take that experience to Congress to support the creation of local jobs. […]

Monica Vernon is a Democratic candidate for the United States House of Representatives in Iowa’s First Congressional District. A life-long Iowan and working mom, Vernon is a leader dedicated to putting the people of Iowa first.

Press release from Zach Hunter, regional press secretary for the National Republican Congressional Committee:

You may have heard that Monica Vernon has just announced she will run for Congress again in Iowa’s 1st district. Name not ringing a bell? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In 2014, most voters either didn’t know Vernon, or didn’t like her. That’s why she finished a distant second in the Democratic primary with less than 24% of the vote. Ouch.

But that wasn’t the end of Vernon’s attempts at elected office last year. Unbelievably, even after such a poor showing, Vernon was selected as the Democratic Lieutenant Governor nominee – and she managed to lose that race too. Seeing a pattern here?

After embarrassing losses all over the map in Iowa last November, are Democrats actually expecting this consistent loser to revive their party?

NRCC Comment: “After not just one, but two losses in 2014, Monica Vernon has wasted little time before deciding to run for office – any office – yet again. With her proven knack for losing big races, is Vernon really the best Democrats can do?” – NRCC Spokesman Zach Hunter

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  • I would like to know more about what she believes.

    I met her during the campaign.  She is a warm and charming person. I am less concerned with her party registration five years ago than I am with whether she will join the Blue Dogs and austerity fetishists who have done so much damage to the party brand by trying to cut Social Security and Medicare. Will she be a strong supporter of renewable energy, which is creating jobs in Iowa, or will she be one more Democrat who loves pipelines? Will she try to diminish the stranglehold of Wall Street on Congress, or will she join Democrats like Dave Loebsack who are trying to gut Dodd-Frank and give Wall Street what it wants?  Etc.

    I will be listening.

  • Vernon's chances

    Monica Vernon should be able to win this race.  I suspect Rob Hogg would defeat her in a primary if he ran however.  If you two or three women looking at the race again, we could be in a world of hurt where Blum can make a race out of something that should not be competitive.

    I don’t think Hogg will run though, but I could be wrong.  

    • I don't think he will run either

      I think he will run for a statewide office someday (attorney general, governor, or U.S. Senate).