Third district Congressman Leonard Boswell of Des Moines faced a primary challenge in June from fellow Democrat Ed Fallon. After a Boswell victory in that primary, there’s been little campaign activity from Boswell or from his Republican challenger, 55-year-old Kim Schmett of Clive, which is a Des Moines suburb.

Schmett is an attorney who once served as an aide to Republican Congressman Greg Ganske. He’s also been the chairman of Polk County Republicans. "Everybody wants to talk about change this year, but simply throwing around the word change is not sufficient," Schmett said when he announced his candidacy this past spring. "…I want to improve things, not just talk in terms of different directions."

Boswell, who is 74-years-old, was admitted to a Washington, D.C. hospital on July 9th for a procedure his chief of staff said was "a revision from his previous surgery." In 2005, Boswell had a large, noncancerous tumor removed from his abdomen.

During a campaign event at the Iowa State Fair, Boswell told reporters he is "dang good" and his doctors have given him a clean bill of health. "I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. I’m feeling good. I did some elective, corrective (surgery) — you’ve heard all that stuff so I won’t go back through all that," Boswell said. "It turned out good and I’m glad I’ve got it behind me and the doctors are happy and so is Leonard."

Boswell is seeking a sixth term in the U.S. House. The Third Congressional District covers a dozen counties and includes the cities of Des Moines, Newton, Grinnell, Knoxville and Oskaloosa. Dave Paxton, publisher of newspapers in Chariton and Albia — two other cities in the district, suggests Schmett — the Republican candidate — faces an "uphill climb" against Boswell.

"He’s the kind of guy that really hasn’t made any big mistakes," Paxton says. "…He’s a gentleman. He’s a likeable guy. He’s an old farmer guy that relates to us. I don’t know how he relates to the people in Polk County, apparently pretty well." Paxton made his comments on Iowa Public Television.

Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson profile of third Congressional district. 1:45 MP3