IA-03: Matt McCoy confirms he's thinking about it

State Senator Matt McCoy has confirmed that he may seek the Democratic nomination in Iowa’s third Congressional district next year. At least two other Democrats are thinking about challenging first-term Representative David Young as well.

William Petroski reported for the Des Moines Register today,

“We are considering that right now. We are looking at it, talking with people and we are looking at the makeup of the district. Obviously, if we think we can find a way of making it work we will go,” McCoy said last week.

McCoy was first elected to the Iowa House in 1992 and elected to the Senate in 1996. He’s currently an assistant Iowa Senate majority leader and chair of an appropriations subcommittee. He has strong connections in the Des Moines area business community and previously headed the Senate Commerce Committee.

For more than a decade, central Iowa Democrats have expected McCoy to run for Congress when an opportunity arose. In fact, he had already announced plans to run in IA-03 in 2002 before Representative Leonard Boswell moved to Des Moines. (The 2001 redistricting process had put Boswell’s Decatur County farm in the heavily Republican fifth district.)

After Representative Tom Latham unexpectedly announced plans to retire in December 2013, some local Democrats encouraged McCoy to run for the open seat. However, Staci Appel had already locked up many endorsements and raised a lot of money by that time. Moreover, McCoy was up for re-election to the Iowa Senate in 2014, so he would have had to give up his position in the state legislature in order to run for Congress.

In contrast, McCoy could stay in his Iowa Senate seat if a 2016 Congressional campaign proved unsuccessful.

Appel herself is thinking about another run in IA-03, Jason Noble reported for the Des Moines Register on February 27:

“We’re continually talking about it, looking at the numbers of the race and what went wrong and what went right last time,” she said. “I’m really being encouraged to run again. I’m taking my time to think it through but I’m strongly considering running again.”

I’m with Pat Rynard; Appel will struggle to convince potential early supporters that she is a strong challenger after losing to Young by a large than expected margin last November. Sure, 2014 was a Republican landslide year, but the IA-03 race should have been closer than that.

Rynard reported at Iowa Starting Line that Desmund Adams has been talking about a possible run in IA-03 too. Adams was the 2012 Democratic nominee in Iowa Senate district 22, a strongly Republican seat covering some Des Moines suburbs (Windsor Heights, Clive, and parts of West Des Moines and Waukee).

Meanwhile, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush headlined a fundraiser for Young at Living History Farms this evening. Donors of at least $1,000 were welcome the first part of the event; a “dessert reception” followed for donors of at least $100. Bush’s political action committee already made a significant gift to Young’s campaign. With numerous GOP presidential candidates eager to curry favor with Iowa Republicans and Senator Chuck Grassley (Young’s former boss) on the ballot in 2016, count on Young to amass a huge war chest for his re-election campaign.

Any comments about the IA-03 race are welcome in this thread.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention former Governor Chet Culver as a possible candidate in this race. Six weeks ago he indicated that he was considering a Congressional bid either here or in IA-01, but my guess is he will not run in either district.

McCoy will be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination if he declares. He could raise a lot of money and would be hard to beat in Polk County, where most of the Democrats in the district live.

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  • Primary

    Young will need the cash cuz he’ll probably get primaried by at least one and possibly as many as three Republicans. His godfather Chuck Grassley will make sure these challengers pay a heavy price, tho.  

  • tough for your side

    McCoy would be a good candidate. He’s smart and knowledgable, probably the best possible challenger to Young. Republicans long for another Appel candidacy but are realistic to know Democrats aren’t likely to inflict that disaster on themselves again. Registration numbers show the Third is very tough for Democrats. I see Young keeping that seat without much trouble, even if he does have a serious primary challenge, which I doubt.  

    • historically

      beating an incumbent in Iowa has not been easy. It has mostly happened in landslide years. 2016 isn’t shaping up to be a landslide for either party, as far as I can tell.

      I agree that McCoy would be one of the stronger potential Democratic candidates for this seat.