Iowa’s new Second Congressional district, which includes Iowa City, Burlington and Cedar Rapids, has more Democrat voters and that could spell defeat for Jim Leach, a longtime Republican Congressman. Dr. Julie Thomas of Cedar Rapids, a pediatrician, is running against Leach, her first campaign for public office. At a rally this week, Thomas acknowledged she’s depending, in part, on the word-of-mouth sales pitches from the patients she’s treated over her 27-year career. Former Vice President Al Gore led those student rallies this past week on behalf of Thomas, and Thomas says it was Gore who renewed her interest in politics when she heard him speak at an American Academy of Pediatrics Conference in 1989. She says she recognized Gore as a great leader ahead of his time when it comes to problems with out environment.Jim Leach, who recently moved from Davenport to Iowa City so he wouldn’t have to run against Congressman Jim Nussle, has identified himself as the underdog in the race.Leach does not accept political action committee contributions, which limits his fundraising and has given Thomas the money-edge in the race.
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