A 77-year-old lawyer from Ames is one of the four Republicans who’ve announced they’re running for the U.S. Senate in 2014. Paul Lunde has run for office many times.
“Oh, I can’t even count them,” Lunde says, laughing. “But I ran for congress (and) I was the official (Republican) nominee in 1992 for the district that includes Des Moines…I’m the last person to lose to Neal Smith.”
Democrat Neal Smith won 23 consecutive terms in the U.S. House, but lost his reelection bid in 1994. Lunde ran for congress again in 1994, but lost in a Republican primary.
“What I have been doing in the meantime is working on such things as these constitutional amendments,” Lunde says.
Lunde proposes a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would also bar the federal government from borrowing or going into debt. He has 17 amendments drafted that he’d like tacked onto the Constitution. He’s bundled 12 of them into a package he calls the “Second Bill of Rights.”
“One of them, for example, would make Social Security permanent. One would make Medicare permanent,” Lunde says. “They would make them constitutional rights that congress can’t eliminate easily, as they can now.”
Some Republicans would like to do away with Social Security and Medicare.
“I am aware of that,” Lunde says, “but I am also aware of the fact that an awful lot of Republicans are dependent on the money that they get from Social Security and they want them to continue.”
Lunde rejects the idea that at age of 77 he’s too old to be elected to the U.S. Senate, pointing out he’s three years younger than Senator Chuck Grassley. Lunde describes himself as an “Eisenhower Republican.”
“Eisenhower was just finishing his first term at the time that I first registered to vote and the first person I voted for, of course, was Richard Nixon in 1960,” Lunde says.
Nixon had been Eisenhower’s vice president, but lost the 1960 election to Democrat John F. Kennedy.
Lunde, a graduate of Harvard Law School, served three years in the Army, worked in Washington, D.C. for a year and then returned to Ames. Lunde helped start and then sell radio stations in Ames and Ankeny. He has published three books.
Former radio talk show host Sam Clovis ; former Grassley chief of staff David Young and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker have launched campaigns for the Republican Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate. Other Republicans are considering the race, while Congressman Bruce Braley is the only Democrat running for the seat that Tom Harkin has held for nearly three decades. Harkin announced in January that he wouldn’t seek reelection.