After 30 years in congress, Jim Leach says he’s ready for a new career. Leach, a Republican from Iowa City, lost his bid for a 16thither in the U.S. House this past Tuesday. “I look at it as an end to a career that probably should be being brought to an end from a congressional perspective,” Leach says.
Leach, who is 64, says he’s not ready for retirement. “I would like a new direction and I’m open to a number of alternatives,” Leach says. “We will see where that takes me.” Leach was defeated by first-time office-seeker Dave Loebsac, a political science professor from Cornell College in Mount Vernon. Leach says he has no regrets about his loss because he stuck to his principles.
For example, Leach has been an advocate of campaign finance reform and he did not accept contributions from political actions committees. “I feel quite upbeat about the circumstance. I look at it as a 30-year career that I entered with very strong desire to set a kind of model of representation that I wanted to be consistent with,” Leach says.
Leach is a native of Davenport, a one-time state wrestling champion, a graduate of Princeton and the London School of Economics. As a young man, Leach served as an aide to Donald Rumsfeld when Rumsfeld was a member of congress and even shared an office with Dick Cheney when Leach and Cheney worked for Rumsfeld in the Nixon White House. Leach was elected to congress in 1976. Through his years there, which included a stint as chairman of the House Banking Committee, Leach has gained a reputation as a moderate Republican with a vast knowledge of world politics.
Leach counts the rock star Bono among his friends, and once told reporters that standing at a U-2 concert with his daughter and having Bono recognize him from the stage was a rare father/daughter moment he cherishes. Now, after Tuesday’s loss, Leach says he’s ready to become a regular citizen again. “For a number of years I’ve said when it’s my last election I will — whether it’s not seeking election or being defeated — that I would consider it the happiest day of my life,” Leach says.