Pete D'Alessandro confirmed yesterday that he has created an exploratory committee for a possible campaign Iowa's third Congressional district. In a statement first provided to The Guardian and enclosed in full below, D'Alessandro said progressives throughout the district have encouraged him to run. "The many offers of support have been humbling. It is clear that a great many people believe it is not possible to change the clutter in Washington DC if we choose our candidates from the same failed pool that we have in the recent past." He will spend the next few months "traveling to all 16 counties in our district listening to everyday people, talking with activists, and engaging with community leaders to gather their views on the condition and the direction of the district and our country."
A veteran of many Iowa Democratic campaigns and a consultant for candidates elsewhere, D'Alessandro most recently worked here as political director for Bernie Sanders before the 2016 caucuses. Sanders energized a large number of activists to get involved in Democratic Party politics for the first time, and if that small army becomes engaged in the IA-03 primary, they could be an important volunteer and donor base for D'Alessandro.
In recent weeks, many Des Moines area activists have been talking about Theresa Greenfield as a possible challenger to two-term Representative David Young. Greenfield is president of the family-owned real estate development company Colby Interests in Windsor Heights. She confirmed today,
I am exploring a run for Congress in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District and am having fun doing it! For now, my focus is to introduce myself to community leaders, visit all 16 counties, and invite folks to share what their priorities are and what our communities need. I am exploring a run for Congress because people like us -- need people like us to lead, not life long politicians. It's the only way we're going to bring about real change.
State Senator Matt McCoy told me last month he was considering running for Congress and will make a final decision this fall. Since McCoy is up for re-election next year in Senate district 21, covering parts of Des Moines and West Des Moines, he would have to abandon his seat in the legislature in order to seek the Democratic nomination in IA-03.
Anna Ryon has been the only declared Democratic candidate in IA-03 since Mike Sherzan recently withdrew from this race. Ryon is an attorney with the Office of Consumer Advocate; her campaign is online here.
The sixteen counties in IA-03 contain 167,092 active registered Democrats, 177,376 Republicans, and 167,828 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. Young won re-election in 2016 by 53.4 percent to 39.7 percent, outperforming the top of the GOP ticket by about five points. Although Donald Trump carried IA-03 by 48.5 percent to 45.0 percent, the swing to the Republican presidential nominee here was significantly smaller than in Iowa's first and second Congressional districts.
IA-03 is on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's long list of 2018 targets but not among the 20 top-priority Republican-held districts.
UPDATE: D'Alessandro has launched a website for his exploratory committee.
The Republican Party of Iowa's first hit on D'Alessandro came in a bizarre press release on April 27, which I've added below.
Full text of April 25 statement from Pete D'Alessandro:
For the past several months, progressives throughout Iowa's Third Congressional District have contacted me and have asked me to consider running for The U.S. House of Representatives. The many offers of support have been humbling. It is clear that a great many people believe it is not possible to change the clutter in Washington D.C. if we choose our candidates from the same failed pool that we have in the recent past.
With this in mind, I will be forming a committee to explore a run for Congress. Third District voters deserve to have their voices heard. Over the course of the next few months, I will be traveling to all 16 counties in our district listening to everyday people, talking with activists, and engaging with community leaders to gather their views on the condition and the direction of the district and our country.
Iowa's strength has always been found in the values of its people. I look forward to the discussions ahead and hearing ideas of how we can begin the process of once again bringing those values to our government.
Iowa GOP press release, April 27 (emphasis in original):
Bernie Sanders former political operative, Peter D'Alessandro, recently announced to the international press that he is considering running for Congress in Iowa. Perhaps D'Alessandro can start by telling Iowans how he feels about his former employer putting partisan politics over homeland security.
"D'Alessandro's old boss, Senator Sanders, was the only US Senator to skip the classified North Korea briefing earlier this week," Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said. "With North Korea saber-rattling and agitating for war, what Iowans want to know is "Does D'Alessandro stand with Sanders, or does he stand with Iowans concerned about our homeland's security?"
First, the White House "briefing" on North Korea was widely panned as useless. Senator Tammy Duckworth later commented, ""I could've gotten all that information by reading a newspaper."
Second, as Pat Rynard noted, "It doesn't appear David Young has put out any press releases specifically on North Korea this year, so maybe he should go first."
My question is...
...whether Iowa voters will have better polling to rely on in 2018, or at least better guidance as to which polls to trust, if any. I'm not sure my aging cardiovascular system could handle another shock like I had last November. And I was also the person who kept reassuring my nervous 87-year-old mother that Trump couldn't possibly win. I really don't want to go through anything like that ever again. Is reliable polling a thing of the past now? Should we just look at polls in the future and mutter "Yeah, right, sure"?