July 29, 2014

Schultz, McCoy and others may run for Latham’s now-open seat

Tom Latham’s surprise announcement late Tuesday afternoon that he will not to seek reelection in 2014 is prompting other Iowa politicians to consider a run for congress in Iowa’s third district.

Many ambitious politicians from both major parties have decided not to run for congress in the past two decades because they didn’t want to go head-to-head with long-term incumbents Tom Latham or Leonard Boswell in a primary. With Latham’s defeat of Boswell in 2012 when the two were thrown into the same district and Latham’s decision not to seek reelection in 2014, the flood gates have opened. Republican Matt Schultz, Iowa’s current Secretary of State, may run for congress now.

“I am strongly considering it,” Schultz says. “Obviously it’s a decision that you don’t make overnight. It’s a decision that I’ll be making over the next couple of weeks.”

Schultz, an attorney, served on the Council Bluffs city council before he became Secretary of State in 2011.

“I grew up in Polk County. I’ve lived in Dallas County. I live currently in Madison County and I was a city councilman in Pottawattamie County, in Council Bluffs,” says Schultz, who lives with his family in Truro today. “…I represent the entire district as secretary of state and obviously I get around southwest Iowa. I know the district well and I am strongly considering a run for congress.”

If Schultz does run for congress, there is already a Republican running in the district. Joe Grandanette, a physical education teacher in Des Moines, announced a few weeks ago that he would challenge Latham in a primary because of Latham’s “morally reprehensible” votes for recent federal budget deals. Other Republicans say they are considering the race, too.

Former State Senator Staci Appel as well as community college student and former tire factory worker Gabriel De La Cerda have been running on the Democratic side, but more Democrats may enter the primary now. State Senator Matt McCoy — a Democrat from Des Moines — is among them.

“I’ve always said if this seat becomes open, I would be interested in running,” McCoy says.

In the past, however, Congressman Boswell has stood in the way, moving from Davis City to Des Moines in 2002 so he wouldn’t have to run against another incumbent congressman.

“This is something I’ve been thinking about for more than 20 years,” McCoy says, “and I would certainly give it serious consideration and will be giving it consideration over the Christmas holiday.”

McCoy says he has “great respect” for former senator Appel, but McCoy says his bipartisan work in the legislature — like his management last year of the business tax cut Republican Governor Terry Branstad wanted — is a template for how congress might start working again.