IA-02: Loebsack in the driver's seat

The main campaign arm of U.S. House Republicans spent more than $1 million in 2014 trying to unseat Representative Dave Loebsack in Iowa’s second district. But national Republicans left the last Democrat representing our state in Congress alone during the 2016 campaign, and Loebsack is unlikely to be targeted this year either.

Fundraising by the candidates becomes more important when outside groups don’t get involved in a House race. For that reason, the latest batch of Federal Election Commission quarterly reports were especially encouraging for Loebsack.

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Iowa candidates on notice: Signature requirements are real

A state panel disqualified two prominent Republican candidates yesterday due to insufficient valid signatures on their nominating petitions. A leading Democratic contender for Congress would have suffered the same fate, had a party committee not bailed her out using a questionable legal loophole.

All of the candidates had been actively campaigning for months. Yet they failed to ensure that they could meet a straightforward, longstanding requirement to qualify for the ballot. Nothing like this should happen to another serious contender for public office in Iowa.

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Social conservative Ginny Caligiuri launches IA-02 bid

Describing herself as a “pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-Israel, and pro-Constitution conservative,” Ginny Caligiuri made her quest for the Republican nomination in Iowa’s second Congressional district official today. Her candidacy was no secret; the former state director for the Congressional Prayer Caucus, National Governor’s Prayer Team, and US National Prayer Council had nominating papers out to be signed at the February 5 precinct caucuses and has been making the rounds at GOP county central committee meetings.

Bleeding Heartland profiled Caligiuri in January. You can keep up with her campaign online at GinnyGetsIowa.com, Facebook, or Twitter (at this writing, a protected account).

The announcement for Caligiuri’s kickoff event in Osceola on March 8 noted, “The 2nd District elected Donald Trump, and Ginny plans to help him accomplish what he was elected to do.” That line struck me as a subtle dig at Caligiuri’s competition in the GOP primary. Dr. Christopher Peters is a libertarian-minded Republican; as the IA-02 nominee, he announced in October 2016 that he would not vote for Trump.

I enclose below Caligiuri’s official bio and a map of Iowa’s Congressional districts. According to the latest figures from the Secretary of State’s office, the 24 counties contain 160,891 active registered Democrats, 141,798 Republicans, an 181,740 no-party voters.

The Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball both rate this race as a likely Democratic hold for six-term Representative Dave Loebsack. For reasons discussed here, I think Republicans missed their best chance to defeat Loebsack by not targeting his district during the 2016 cycle. Trump carried the 24 counties in IA-02 by 49.1 percent to 45.0 percent, a huge swing from Barack Obama’s 55.8 percent to 42.7 percent margin over Mitt Romney in 2012.

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Republican Ginny Caligiuri likely running for Congress in IA-02

Dr. Christopher Peters may soon have a Republican primary rival in Iowa’s second Congressional district. Multiple sources tell Bleeding Heartland that Ginny Caligiuri has been laying the groundwork to seek the GOP nomination and plans to have petitions out for activists to sign at the Republican Party of Iowa’s precinct caucuses on February 5. At this writing, the Federal Election Commission’s website has not published any statement of organization for a Caligiuri campaign. The would-be candidate has not replied to requests for comment.

Caligiuri is well-known in Iowa Christian conservative circles, having served as state director for the United States National Prayer Council, the Iowa Prayer Caucus, and National Governors’ Prayer Team. She’s on the committee planning this year’s Iowa Prayer Breakfast in March.

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Repealing key health care provision could cost 125,000 Iowans coverage by 2025

Approximately 125,600 more Iowans would be uninsured by 2025 if President Donald Trump signs into law a tax bill repealing the individual mandate, according to new estimates from the Center for American Progress. The coverage losses would be highest in the fourth Congressional district, primarily due to far more people becoming unable to purchase more expensive policies on the individual market.

In fact, the Center for American Progress projects that 56,600 residents of IA-04 would become uninsured over the next seven years, more than twice as many people as in any of Iowa’s other three Congressional districts.

Follow me after the jump for Iowa’s statewide and district-level numbers.

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IA-02: Christopher Peters set to run against Dave Loebsack again

Dr. Christopher Peters announced today that he will visit all 24 counties in Iowa’s second Congressional district next week “to speak with Iowans about his plans for the 2018 election.” Since I’ve never heard of someone holding more than two dozen events to publicize a decision not to run for office, it’s a safe bet the Coralville surgeon will be launching his second attempt to defeat Democratic Representative Dave Loebsack.

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