Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell isn’t ready to retire this election season, or the next.
Boswell faces Republican challenger Brad Zaun this November. Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack said last week that she may run for congress in 2012. She, like Boswell, lives in Des Moines and both are Democrats, setting up a potential primary against Boswell if they both compete for the same congressional seat.
“Christie is a smart person. I’m planning on doing this for a while, so I hope that she has got other things she likes to do for a while because I’m going to continue to do this,” Boswell said last week at the Iowa State Fair.
A reporter followed up with this question: “Does that mean you’re announcing for 2012?”
Boswell replied: “Well, it’s not far from it.”
Vilsack said last week that as a 60-year-old, she “can’t wait indefinitely” to run for office. Vilsack cited the “redistricting” that will occur in the legislature, as new congressional district lines will be drawn for the 2012 election. She said that means no one will have a “claim” on a particular district.
Boswell, who is 76 years old, hasn’t discussed the matter with Vilsack. “Maybe we will someday,” Boswell said, “but we haven’t.”
Boswell faced a primary challenge in 2008 from fellow Democrat Ed Fallon of Des Moines, but party leaders rallied around Boswell and Boswell defeated Fallon by 22 percentage points in the primary. Boswell, however, isn’t characterizing his declaration about the 2012 election as a “back off” message to Vilsack.
“I have so much respect for Christie, so no — Christie (and I), we visit, but we haven’t visited about this,” Boswell told reporters last week. “We’re on good terms. She’s a great lady.”
Boswell was first elected to congress in 1996. He served in the Iowa legislature for a dozen years before that.