Kim Weaver, Dirk Deam considering Congressional bids in IA-04

At least two Democrats are actively exploring a campaign against eight-term Republican Representative Steve King in Iowa’s fourth Congressional district.

Long-term care ombudsman Kim Weaver, who was King’s challenger in 2016, confirmed her interest in a repeat bid today. Bret Hayworth reported for the Sioux City Journal,

Weaver said Tuesday she is passionate about making sure people in the 4th District have strong rural education and protections that the federal Medicare and Social Security programs won’t be cut.

Weaver also told Hayworth she has name recognition and “a good framework within the district” for a campaign. In recent months, she has depicted her low-budget 2016 campaign as an efficient use of grassroots energy:

While Kim’s bid to take the seat wasn’t successful, she received a higher percentage of the vote in all 39 of her counties than both Hillary Clinton and [U.S. Senate nominee] Patty Judge. Because she was working full time while campaigning, she was unable to raise millions of dollars like other candidates. Despite this, she ran a campaign where her final dollar per vote was only $1.22. This is compared to $14.00 per vote in the 1st District and just under $10.00 per vote in the 3rd District. This shows just how well a true grassroots campaign can work.

Weaver raised only $159,626 during the 2016 election cycle but received roughly the same percentage of the vote as Jim Mowrer did in 2014, when he raised and spent more than $2 million running against King.

Click here for more background on Weaver’s life and career. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter. UPDATE: Added below a statement from Weaver on forming an exploratory committee.

Iowa State University political science Professor Dirk Deam is also exploring a Congressional campaign in IA-04. He recently discussed his plans in a Facebook post and with Iowa State Daily reporter Danielle Gehr. Scroll down for excerpts from those pieces and more background information from Deam’s Facebook page.

Election analysts, including most recently Roll Call, rate IA-04 as a “solid Republican” district. Its 39 counties contain 122,811 active registered Democrats, 194,477 Republicans, and 177,035 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. Voters in IA-04 favored Donald Trump in last year’s presidential election by a 60.9 percent to 33.5 percent margin. King received about 61.2 percent of the vote against Weaver.

From Dirk Deam’s February 25 Facebook post:

Thank you all for your kind messages of support and for your willingness to share ideas and insights about the prospects of a congressional campaign. I particularly want to thank all of you who have volunteered to help in various ways. Those of you who know me from my courses know that “making publics” involves a commitment to public action, a commitment that builds on the power of individuals acting together in matters that affect us all. In that respect, your hundreds of heartfelt responses over the last few weeks show that an enthusiastic and powerful public has come into being. That is exciting news.

I want to tell you why I have come to consider a run for Congress. The 2016 election surely caught us all by surprise, but the forces behind that moment have been acting on the nation for a long time. Our political culture is badly factionalized and polarized. We rely too much on mass media that paint in broad strokes. We rely too little on the face-to-face interactions that respect individuals and build communities. We too often dismiss, with almost habitual disdain, the possibilities of government. These familiar problems have brought us to a moment of crisis. Everyone senses it. And now, many of us find ourselves drawn to action to help bring about changes that we know are long overdue.

I want to improve the way we do our politics. We can act better than we have been as citizens of our state and our nation. All of us can. We can be more faithful to the possibilities of representative government, the most important path our Founders left us for finding the common good. We can be more tolerant and respectful toward each other and work to focus on the needs of people instead of parties. We can look for ways to value the differences we each bring to the republic we all constitute, and to connect across those differences rather than to divide. And we can remember, as history teaches us, that when we act together in all our differences, truly amazing things are possible. I want to work toward reviving that sense of public spirit.

From Danielle Gehr’s February 6 story for the Iowa State Daily:

Throughout his career, Deam said he emphasized that politics should be about connecting people instead of dividing them.

Deam will run as a Democrat. Despite his choice of party, Deam’s main issue with politics today is non-partisan.

“We need to fix the way we do politics with each other,” Deam said. “Then we can decide what we are going to do.”

From the “About” section of Deam’s “A Public in the Making” Facebook page:

Dirk was born and raised in northeastern Kansas and has spent most of his adult life living in the Midwest. He and his wife Annie, who have known each other since grade school, have lived in Iowa for 24 years and raised their three children here. They are both teachers. After receiving his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Iowa, Dirk joined the faculty of the Department of Political Science at Iowa State University, where he has taught a wide variety of subjects in American politics, law, technology policy, environmental policy, and political theory.

Before moving to Iowa, Dirk worked in the nation’s space program for many years as an aerospace engineer. He worked on the Space Shuttle in California and later managed flight design for the Rockwell Shuttle Operation Company in Houston, coordinating the various engineering teams who planned Shuttle missions and payloads.

Dirk is also a lawyer. He is well known to his students for teaching in a unique style adapted from law school, which has earned him multiple teaching awards. Whether the class is about constitutional law, the Presidency, Congress, media, or any of the many other subjects he has taught over the years, he always challenges students to think carefully, to interact with one other, and to take politics seriously.

UPDATE: A representative of Weaver sent out this news release on March 8.


Ames, Iowa: On Saturday, March 4, 2017 Kim Weaver announced the launch of an exploratory committee, the first step in a potential second run for Congress in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District in 2018. This surprise announcement was made at the Story County Democrats Soup Supper, attended by former Maryland Governor and 2016 Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, State Senator Rob Hogg, potential candidates for other state offices, and various other Democratic Party luminaries.

This past November, Weaver ran a competitive race against long-time Republican incumbent Steve King, garnering more votes than both presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and US Senate candidate Patty Judge in all 39 counties in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. King’s inflammatory and racially-charged comments about minorities, combined with his record as the least effective member of Congress, fueled a strong finishing charge for Weaver, despite the 4th being a very conservative district.

When asked why she decided to conduct an exploratory committee rather than an official campaign, Kim stated, “I did very well last time considering my resources. My campaign staff and volunteers did an amazing job with the magnitude of tasks placed in front of them. I won’t attempt to do this again without sufficient support. I will fully commit if Iowans will do the same.”

During her announcement, she expressed her exploratory goals: If she earns enough support and raises $100,000 by September, she will enter the race officially. Weaver’s aim is to bring a renewed energy and commitment to Washington serving the people of Iowa’s 4th District, where she said their needs have been largely ignored for 14 years by the incumbent insider.

Weaver is an Iowa native and long-time resident of Sheldon who serves as the long-term care ombudsman for 13 counties in Northwest Iowa. She has been an active, dedicated public servant for 25 years, and brings a depth of experience in serving Iowa’s elderly, rural, and vulnerable populations.

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  • District 4 Resident eager to campaign for Kim

    As a resident of district 4 I am reaching out to offer help in campaign efforts to support Kim Weaver. I have a great amount of influence on many other rural surrounding areas that often are forgotten. These small community population’s add up & could very well be a deciding factor in winning at defeating King. I have reached out to Kim on Twitter yet to get a response. I will continue to do so until I hear from her. If I do not get a respone within the next 6 months I will offer my support and help to another candidate running in 2018.