IA-01: Lange out, Blum takes first shot at Paulsen

Catching up on news from last week, two-time Republican nominee Ben Lange has confirmed that he will not run for Congress next year in the open first district. Lange’s written statement, which I enclose at the end of this post, cited family reasons. As a practical matter, he would have been an underdog to win the nomination in IA-01 for a third time. He barely defeated Rod Blum in the 2012 primary despite having raised far more money and hired a larger campaign staff. In that race, many prominent Iowa Republicans and the National Republican Congressional Committee favored Lange, probably because he had come so close to defeating incumbent Bruce Braley in 2010. But Braley easily won re-election last year, carrying 17 of the 20 counties in IA-01.

Also last week, Blum previewed his case against likely primary rival Kraig Paulsen, the speaker of the Iowa House. I recommend reading the whole article by James Q. Lynch for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. A few excerpts are after the jump. I believe that Blum’s attacks on Paulsen will resonate with many activists who participate in Republican primaries.

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IA-01: How much will the Liberty movement help Rod Blum?

Yesterday Dubuque-based business owner Rod Blum formally announced his candidacy in the Republican primary to represent Iowa’s first Congressional district. The same day, he received the endorsement of the Liberty Iowa PAC, formed two years ago by supporters of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. Both announcements are after the jump, along with my first thoughts on how much the Liberty movement could help Blum in the GOP primary.

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First look at the potential Republican field in IA-01

No Republicans have announced firm plans to run for the open seat in Iowa’s first Congressional district, but several people are definitely or rumored to be considering the race.

To evaluate who is best poised to win this Democratic-leaning district, it’s helpful to look at where the votes are in a Republican primary as well as in a general election. After the jump I’ve posted a district map, the latest voter registration numbers for the 20 counties in IA-01, and a brief take on some of the possible Republican candidates.  

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New IA-01 discussion thread

All signs point to Representative Bruce Braley running for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2014, so I thought I’d put up a new thread to discuss scenarios in the first Congressional district.

Former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy plans to run in the Democratic primary for IA-01. I don’t think he’s as strong a candidate as either Senate President Pam Jochum or State Senator Liz Mathis would be, and it is long past time for Democrats to nominate a woman in an open seat that leans Democratic. The latest numbers from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office show that IA-01 contains 167,987 active registered Democrats, 140,227 Republicans, and 196,078 no-party voters.

On the Republican side, I am seeking comment about a possible Congressional bid from both Ben Lange and Rod Blum. Both ran against Braley in 2012; Blum narrowly lost the primary. Iowa Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix ran for IA-01 when it was last an open seat in 2006, but he has ruled out running for Congress next year as he tries to take back the Senate majority for the GOP. CORRECTION: Dix lives in Butler County, which used to be in IA-01 but is now in IA-04 under Iowa’s new map.

Any comments about the IA-01 campaign are welcome in this thread. A race between Blum and either Jochum or Murphy would be an all-Dubuque affair.

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