Saying he will provide new energy and change for Democrats, former Des Moines state representative Ed Fallon formerly announced his campaign for the third district congressional seat Wednesday in the home near Drake University that will serve as his campaign headquarters.
The forty-nine-year-old Fallon says he decided this was his next best step politically after losing the Democratic primary for governor two years ago. He says there are three core issues for his campaign, beginning with campaign finance reform.
Fallon says it’s exciting to go from one of the few people talking about campaign finance reform when he ran for the legislature in 1992, to a point where it was a key issue for the top two Democratic finishers in the Iowa Caucuses. He says global warming is another main issue, "that is a huge problem that may be the single biggest issue that we’ve had to face as a civilization." Healthcare reform is the third big issue in his campaign.
Fallon is challenging six-term incumbent Democrat Leonard Boswell. Fallon says: Even though I have a lot of respect for the Congressman, I think he is a man of dignity, he has served well, this country and our state. But we disagree on many, many issues. We certainly disagree on the war in Iraq. I would not have supported that, I opposed it in fact, even before it started. Leonard Boswell also supported the Patriot Act which I think involved a significant infringement on our civil liberties. I would not have voted for that." Fallon says he will bring energy to the campaign and feels now is the time for someone who is not an entrenched member of the party to run.
Fallon says this fall is going to be a good one for Democrats, "particularly for Democrats who represent change. For Democrats who talk about populist issues, progressive issues in a way that people can understand why those issues are important and central to their lives." Fallon says the party also has to look to 2012 when Iowa will likely lose a congressional seat due to a loss of population.
Fallon says Democrats should think very seriously about this as there will be two incumbent Democrats, Dave Loebsack and Bruce Braley, who will have had six years to build a base. Fallon says if someone new isn’t elected in the third district who can build a strong base, the district might not remain Democratic. Fallon says Boswell won his last two races in the third district by much smaller margins than Democrat governor Chet Culver and Senator Tom Harkin. Fallon says he won Polk County in the Democrat primary for governor, and also says he won the votes in the third district over the other candidates. Along with Polk, the third district includes Jasper, Marion, Lucas, Monroe, Mahaska, Keokuk., Poweshiek, Iowa, Tama, Benton and Grundy counties.
Senator Harkin said Wednesday he is backing Boswell and Fallon was asked about the endorsement. "That’s the first I’ve heard of it," Fallon says, "but I’m not surprised, again incumbents tend to support incumbents." Fallon believes if you look at their records, he has more in common with Harkin than Boswell does, "I’m not surprised or dismayed. I don’t expect a lot of sitting…Democratic officials to support me. That’s not surprising, that’s the safe conservative and expected thing to do."
Boswell already has raised over $600,000 for his campaign, and Fallon says most of Boswell’s money is from PAC’s. Fallon says he won’t take PAC money, but will be competitive in fundraising against Boswell and has a budget of $700,000 for his campaign.