A former state senator who announced via YouTube that she’s running for congress in 2014 publicly answered questions about her candidacy for the first time Friday.
Staci Appel of Ackworth said this spring she wouldn’t run for Iowa’s third district congressional seat because of “family obligations,” but in early July she launched her campaign by releasing a video.
“The people of Iowa asked me to take a second look at it and my family agreed with it and so here we are,” Appel said Friday.
Appel has been endorsed by EMILY’s List, a political action committee that backs Democratic women who support abortion rights. Appel was featured at a forum EMILY’s List organized in Des Moines on Friday and Appel dismissed the idea that if former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack can’t win a congressional race, no woman can in Iowa.
“It’s a very different race from that race. This is a race where we have an experienced woman running against a long-term incumbent that is up there…not being part of the solution, but part of the problem,” Appel said. “I come with a wealth of experience being a state senator that took part and led the charge in wonderful pieces of legislation impacted the people of Iowa: the statewide smoking ban, equal pay for equal work…the reorganization of government that saved hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Appel served one term in the Iowa Senate and lost her bid for reelection in 2010. A woman in the EMILY’s List crowd asked Appel how she was able to put her name forward again after having an unsuccessful campaign.
“It was one of the biggest losses for us in the state senate when I lost my race, a very visible race that we never expected to lose,” Appel said.
Appel, though, said 2010 was a “bad year” for Democrats and she’s waging a congressional campaign in 2014 because she sees “value” in running for office.
“Because I believe I can make a difference,” Appel said.
Appel is one of two Democrats running in Iowa’s third congressional district, which is currently represented by Republican Tom Latham. Democrat Gabriel De La Cerda — a former union factory worker who is a student at Des Moines Area Community College — announced he was running for the Democratic Party’s third district nomination in April.
Latham declined to run for the U.S. Senate this past winter and made it clear he intends to seek reelection to the House in 2014.