Former Governor Chet Culver confirmed today that he may still run for Congress in Iowa's third district. Speaking by phone, he said, "I've won the district three times, I love the district, it would be a good fit," adding that "I miss public service."
Asked about his timeline for making a decision, Culver did not commit to a specific date but noted the filing deadline for Iowa candidates is in March, and that he would need time to collect signatures to qualify for the ballot. (Democratic candidates in IA-03 will need to submit 1,094 signatures on nominating petitions next year, including minimum signature totals from at least eight of the district's sixteen counties.)
Culver acknowledged that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee prefers for candidates to make their intentions known much earlier in the election cycle. He will make the decision "on my time frame," after weighing several factors, including how a Congressional bid would affect his family and business, the Chet Culver Group. He has been consulting with local Democrats and "just had meetings last week" in Washington, DC. He is "confident I'll make a good decision"; as "soon as I can get everything in order to jump in, I will, and if I can't, I won't. [...] I don't want to jump off the cliff without a parachute."
Some candidates feel more urgency to launch their campaigns early, in order to get a head start on raising the money needed to win. Culver admitted there are consequences to entering the race late--"I get that." At the same time, he said, "I wouldn't do this if I couldn't raise the resources" to win a primary and general election. He commented that not everyone starts with an equal ability to fundraise; his previous campaigns for political office have raised roughly $20 million combined.
Earlier this week, Mike Sherzan indicated he is likely to join the Democratic field that already includes Desmund Adams and Jim Mowrer. Culver sounded unconcerned: "If we have a crowded primary, we have a crowded primary." He recalled the highly competitive 2006 gubernatorial primary, which he barely won, exhausting his campaign's war chest in the process.
Quite a few Democratic insiders have publicly backed Mowrer for this race. The 2014 Democratic nominee in Iowa's fourth district would be well-positioned to pick up labor union endorsements as well. Culver enraged many labor Democrats when he vetoed a collective bargaining bill in 2008. Most of organized labor's legislative agenda failed to advance during the remainder of Culver's term. In addition to not expanding collective bargaining rights, the Democratic-controlled Iowa House did not approve a prevailing wage bill, a measure to allow employees to select their own doctor in case of a workplace injury, or "fair share."
Any comments about the IA-03 race are welcome in this thread. With an even partisan voting index, the third is the most competitive of Iowa's four Congressional districts. Its sixteen counties contain 150,549 active registered Democrats, 163,411 Republicans, and 165,750 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.