All five Iowa congressmen were re-elected. First District Congressman Jim Nussle, a republican from Manchester, is chairman of the House Budget Committee. “I would say the biggest challenge we have right now is putting the country back together,” Nussle said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “We have a divided nation that is polarized as a result of this election, regardless of who wins the presidency….We have a nation that needs some healing.” Nussle is considering a bid for governor in 2006 and indicated he will make a decision by the spring. “But right now my focus is going to be getting back in there to Congress…that’s the most important job I should focus on.” Nussle’s opponent, Bill Gluba — a democrat from Davenport, said he was pleased with the campaign he ran. Gluba said he raised more money than any other democrat running against an incumbent congressman in Iowa, and ended up getting about 46 percent of the vote despite having run no campaign ads on television. Gluba plans to run again next time around — when Nussle’s running for Governor and the seat is open. Gluba says he’s got a donor base of 13-hundred people and an organization in place in every county in the district after traveling over 50-thousand miles in the past year. Second District Congressman Jim Leach won a 15th term in the U-S House. “A lot of campaigns have been hallmarked by rather vigorous negativity, and we’ve tried to set a standard of positivism,” Leach said. The future may be dicey if folks don’t bend a little, according to Leach. “Given the polarization in American politics, I think it’s really important that the public as well as legislative bodies go out of their way to try to give whoever our next President is the benefit of the doubt,” Leach said. Leach’s opponent was democrat Dave Franker of North Liberty.”First of all, I want to congratulate Congressman Leach on his victory. He’s a fine congressman and he’ll represent us all well in Washington, D.C.,” Franker said. “We gave it all we had.” Franker might run again, but wasn’t ready to talk about it last night. “I’m going to get a good night’s sleep and worry about that…down the road.” Third District Congressman Leonard Boswell, the only democrat in Iowa’s Congressional delegation, spoke to supporters in Des Moines after winning a fifth term in the House. “Tonight’s accomplishment is not the end…I have a lot of fight left in me, in case you’re wondering,” Boswell, who is 70 years old, said. “It’s not the time to rest…In fact, two days from now I’m heading for Afghanistan and Iraq to see our troops.” Stan Thompson, a republican from Des Moines, lost his second bid to unseat Boswell. “Certainly here in Iowa we elect incumbents and re-elect them. I’ve made that battle twice and fell short of the mark both times. I accept that result,” Thompson said. During a speech to supporters in Des Moines, Thompson hinted that he might run again for public office. “I still continue to believe in this state, believe that we’ll have some role to play in its future and look forward to that.” Fourth District Congressman Tom Latham won a sixth term in the House. Latham said “great challenges” are ahead, and the top priority should be uniting the country after a divisive election. But Latham says his race wasn’t a rancorous campaign, and he praised his opponent, Paul Johnson, for sticking to the issues. “I’m just very proud that we had great campaign and I think we’re all glad that it’s over with,” Latham says. Johnson, a democrat from Decorah, told Radio Iowa he feels good about the campaign he ran. Johnson is a former state legislator who then served as a bureaucrat at both the federal and state level. Was this campaign his political swan song? “Oh, boy. You never say never,” Johnson says. “On the other hand, I’m really looking forward to getting back and doing a lot of work on the farm that I’ve neglected for the past six months…We’ll take tomorrow when it comes.” In the Fifth District, republican Steve King of Kiron won a second term in the House. “It’s a strong showing,” King says of his race. King was one of those mentioned as a potential candidate for governor in 2006, but King says he’s going to be a congressman and let others run for governor. King’s opponent was Joyce Schulte, a democrat from Creston. “This was a fantastic campaign,” Schulte said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “I have nothing except to say it’s been just an absolute honor to come to know so many fine people here in the fifth district. Of course I’m disappointed I won’t be representing them in Congress this time.” Schulte congratulated King on his victory, but added the caveat that she hopes he “grows into a Congressman that we can all be proud of.” Schulte held open the possibility that she might run again in two years but she has a few other things to do first. “I want to get the kitchen cleaned up after this one,” Schulte said.
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