Another candidate is entering the Republican primary for the congressional seat Jim Nussle is expected to vacate when Nussle runs for governor. Brian Kennedy, former chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa and a long-time political operative, will seek the G-O-P nomination in the First Congressional district, and he’ll be competing against at least two other Republicans. “I think it can be a terrific contest for the Republican party,” Kennedy says. “It’s an opportunity for us to grow the party. One of the challenges we face in eastern Iowa as Republicans is we’ve seen our (voter) registration plateau, so if we run the right type of primary with a positive message that attracts like-minded Independents and conservative Democrats to come to the Republican party, we’ll put ourselves in a stronger position to prevail in 2006.” Kennedy, who is 41 years old, grew up in Iowa City in a family of democrats; his brother has worked for Democrats like Al Gore and John Kerry. Kennedy, meanwhile, worked for Republicans like Terry Branstad and Republican presidential candidates Lamar Alexander and John McCain. “Like lots of people who grew up Democrat, I’m a Republican today because I believe in the principles of limited government, lower taxes, a strong national defense,” Kennedy says. “The Republican party has always done a better job — in my lifetime — of explifying those principles.” In the past election, Kennedy ran something called “The Campaign of One” to try to turn out more Republican voters for President Bush. Kennedy says it was about having Republicans talk to their friends and neighbors about Republican candidates and Republican causes. “That’s far more powerful than yet another television commercial,” Kennedy says. “I intend to bring these tactics into a Brian Kennedy for Congress campaign.” Kennedy, who is living in Bettendorf, is traveling around eastern Iowa today, formally announcing his campaign for Congress. Mike Whalen, a businessman from Bettendorf, and Bill Dix, a state legislator from Shell Rock, are also running for Nussle’s congressional seat.
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