Three Democrats and two Republicans currently represent Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives and all five are seeking reelection.
In the first district, Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo faces Republican challenger Ben Lange, an attorney from Independence. “The reason America is the most free and prosperous county in the history of the world — it’s not because of government. It’s in spite of government,” Lange said recently during a news conference in central Iowa. “…I want a government that stands by our side, not ride on our back.”
Braley has blasted the American Future Fund, a group running ads critical of his record. “The biggest issue that’s facing voters in the first district is secret donors from outside the state of Iowa who are trying to buy this election for Ben Lange,” Braley said recently on Iowa Public Television. “…Why are these secret donors, Ben’s secret donors, doing so much to try to get rid of me?”
There’s a rematch in Iowa’s second district, where Congressman Dave Loebsack of Mount Vernon faces Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa eye doctor who quit her practice last year to campaign full-time. “I have better name-recognition than I did before,” told reporters in late September. “Our grassroots network is much more expansive than it was in ’08 and I think all of those things lead to a better outcome.”
Loeback talked moments later with the same group of reporters. “I used to be a pundit back in my days when I was a college teacher. I’m a congressman now, so I don’t make predictions,” Loebsack said. “I feel confident in my reelection.”
In Iowa’s third district, Congressman Leonard Boswell of Des Moines, faces Republican challenger Brad Zaun. Zaun ran a small business in Urbandale, where he was the city’s mayor for seven years. Zaun’s currently working in property management and serving in the state senate. “My number one mission is to solve this spending problem that’s out of control, the lack of representation, the lack of listening,” Zaun said recently during a speech at Drake University.
Boswell defends the agenda Democrats have pushed through over the past two years. “If I’m no longer there, the effort’s going to be to go back to the politicies that put us in the ditch and we don’t want to go back there,” Boswell said during a recent news conference in Johnston. “Guess what? some of these things are working.”
In the fourth district, Republican Congressman Tom Latham of Ames faces Democrat Bill Maske of Truro. Latham was first elected to congress in the Republican tide of 1994 and he predicts 2010 will be similar. “Today, folks, it is absolute fear in the eyes of the constituents out there, and you know what they’re afraid of?” Latham said earlier this month at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition banquet. “They’re afraid of their own government.”
Maske retired from his job as superintendent of the I-35 School District to run against Latham. “Tom Latham’s right. There needs to be a big change in Washington and he’s one of ’em that needs to be changed,” Maske said in September during an appearance on Iowa Public Television. “We have had the ‘party of no’ working against the Democratic agenda.”
In the fifth district, Congressman Steve King of Kiron faces Democratic challenger Matt Campbell of Manning, a tax attorney. During a recent speech in Des Moines, King railed against what he calls ObamaCare. “Our body is the second-most sovereign thing that we have. our first-most sovereign is our soul,” King said at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition banquet. “They haven’t figured out how to tax that or regulate our souls out of existence, but they’re figuring out how to regulate our bodies.”
Campbell has said King is a “modern day McCarthy” who makes “polarizing” statements. “We’ve got a representative there that likes to talk a lot,” Campbell said during a speech at the Iowa State Fair. “But as much as he talks, he’s really not accomplishing anything.”
Campbell and King have not debated. King told Campbell he hadn’t earned the right to debate.