IA-03: Branstad donated to David Young, Jake Chapman is out

After securing an early endorsement from his onetime boss U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, David Young has landed another vote of confidence from a Republican heavyweight in his bid to represent Iowa’s third Congressional district.

Young campaign staff confirmed on June 7 that former Governor Terry Branstad, who is now U.S. ambassador to China, donated to the campaign this quarter. Young has mentioned Branstad’s contribution in conversations with politically active Iowans, according to a source who saw the former member of Congress recently.

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Nick Miller challenging Chris Hagenow in Iowa House district 19

Nick Miller announced his candidacy in Iowa House district 19 at a May 23 event in his home town of Polk City. The fifth-generation Iowan, who is also a small business owner and Drake University student, would face House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow in the general election if he becomes the Democratic nominee. Miller said his campaign will be grounded in the principles of “Investing, Educating, and Sustaining.”

I want to represent all working families and Iowans; I want to represent a new generation of Iowans; and, I want be a voice for the voiceless and will stand up and fight for what is right.

Although I didn’t include this district in my overview of potentially competitive state House races, I’ll be watching this campaign for a couple of reasons.

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"He knows how to get things done": Grassley endorses Young for IA-03

Senator Chuck Grassley is urging Republicans to support former U.S. Representative David Young in the primary for Iowa’s third Congressional district. In a written statement released on May 20, Grassley described his onetime chief of staff as “an effective leader” who “knows how to get things done” and could “hit the ground running” if elected to the House again.

Grassley rarely endorses in Republican primaries and did not publicly support any candidate before the GOP primary in 2014, the first time Young ran for Congress. That year, Young finished fifth out of six GOP contenders but won the party’s nomination on the fifth ballot at a district convention.

Young became the first declared challenger to U.S. Representative Cindy Axne earlier this month. Army veteran Bill Schafer will also seek the GOP nomination. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the main campaign arm of U.S. House Republicans, is rumored to prefer State Senator Zach Nunn. He is positioning himself as part of “a new generation of leaders.” While not yet officially running, Nunn is touring the district and recently alluded to Young in an interview as “a good man, but we don’t want to see a repeat of 2018.” Nunn briefly worked in Grassley’s Washington office, but Young worked for the senator from 2006 to 2013.

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IA-03: Zach Nunn spreads false hearsay about Cindy Axne

State Senator Zach Nunn has described his planned “listening tour” of Iowa’s third Congressional district as “an opportunity to learn from Iowa families, farmers, and business owners […] about priorities for their communities.”

Unfortunately, the not-quite-official Republican candidate for IA-03 can’t be bothered to check the facts before spreading false claims that suit his political ambitions.

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David Young beats too-clever-by-half Zach Nunn to IA-03 starting gate

Former U.S. Representative David Young became the first declared Republican candidate in Iowa’s third Congressional district on May 6, telling the Des Moines Register’s Brianne Pfannenstiel he looks forward to campaigning against the Democrat who defeated him last November.

“I spent a lot of time with folks around the 3rd District, listening to their priorities and listening to their voices, and they are not being heard right now in the U.S. Congress,” Young said in an interview. “The policies that Cindy Axne is putting forward with Nancy Pelosi is not what Iowans are talking about or wanting.”

Young gave the exclusive to the Register about nine hours after State Senator Zach Nunn announced a “listening tour” of the district’s sixteen counties while he pretends to be merely considering a bid for the U.S. House.

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Cindy Axne to seek re-election in IA-03, won't challenge Joni Ernst

First-term U.S. Representative Cindy Axne will run for re-election in Iowa’s third Congressional district and won’t challenge U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, WHO-TV’s Dave Price was first to report on April 30.

Axne had been recruited for the Senate race, where Democrats have no declared candidates. Eddie Mauro is almost certain to run and has been discussing his plans with activists in numerous counties. Theresa Greenfield is often mentioned as a possible challenger to Ernst. Des Moines attorney Kimberly Graham is exploring a Senate campaign as well.

Earlier this year, many Democrats hoped former state senator and 2018 lieutenant governor candidate Rita Hart might run for Senate, but she is far more likely to compete for the open U.S. House seat in Iowa’s second district.

A competitive GOP primary is likely in IA-03. Former two-term U.S. Representative David Young, whom Axne defeated last year, has been sounding out local Republicans about another campaign. After the jump I’ve posted an interactive map and table showing county-level results for Axne and Young.

State Senator Zach Nunn appears to be the top GOP recruit for IA-03. Bleeding Heartland speculated here on how he might match up against Axne. UPDATE: Nunn announced on May 6 a “listening tour” across the sixteen counties as he considers a Congressional campaign. He looks committed to me.

Conservative blogger Shane Vander Hart identified six other Republicans who are seriously considering this race. Three are from Council Bluffs, but a candidate from the Des Moines metro area would likely be better-positioned for the primary and general elections.

The third district is the most politically balanced of Iowa’s four Congressional districts. As of April 1, its sixteen counties contained 171,434 active registered Democrats, 170,607 Republicans, and 173,103 no-party voters. The Cook Political Report rates this district as a toss-up for 2020, while Sabato’s Crystal Ball puts it in the “lean Democratic” column, due to a higher share of college-educated voters and better performance for Fred Hubbell in the governor’s race, compared to the first Congressional district.

Bleeding Heartland has published county-level 2018 voting numbers for Congress and governor in each district; click through to see maps and tables for IA-01, IA-02, IA-03, and IA-04.

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