Over 500 Iowa Republicans have a chance on Saturday to do what almost 43,000 GOP Primary voters didn’t do on June 3 — pick the Iowa Republican Party’s third district congressional district candidate.
A total of 513 delegates who live in the district are eligible to vote in Saturday’s special nominating convention. The delegates have been deluged over the past three weeks with phone calls, mail and even personal visits from the candidates competing for the nomination. This past Tuesday, all five appeared at the Des Moines Conservative Breakfast Club and candidate David Young joked about how far he’d go to win a delegate’s support.
“If the grass dries up here and you need your lawn mowed, I hope you’ll let me know,” Young said. “If any limbs went down last night, we have some saws and some pick-ups to haul that away.”
Young, a former aide to Senator Chuck Grassley, was the fifth-place finisher in the June 3rd primary. Candidate Monte Shaw, the executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, wound up with 577 more votes than Young and a fourth place finish on primary night.
“We got right in the middle of the pack and, in fact, we won 10 out of the 16 counties,” Shaw said.
There are 16 counties in the third congressional district, which stretches from Des Moines to Council Bluffs and covers much of southwest Iowa. Matt Schultz, who is 34 years old, is the youngest candidate in the race and he finished third on primary night. Schultz is currently serving as Iowa’s secretary of state and is a former member of the Council Bluffs city council.
“I’m not an insider, but I’ve spent my entire career working for you,” Schultz said.
Robert Cramer, the head of a family-owned construction business, finished second on primary night. He’s a former Johnston School Board member who has served on the board of directors for the Christian conservative group The Family Leader.
“The campaign before the primary really stayed very positive from all the campaigns,” Cramer said. “I’ve been kind of disappointed — there’s been some mud-slinging here in the last week.”
Brad Zaun, a state senator who used to be the mayor of the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale, finished first, with nearly 25 percent of the votes on primary night. Zaun carried his home county, which is the largest county in the district.
“There’s a lot of counties outside of Polk County that really don’t like Polk County, but the facts are there is a lot of population and a lot of votes there,” Zaun said.
Saturday’s special nominating convention will be held in Urbandale, at the Des Moines Christian School. Nominating conventions are common for state legislative races, but 2002 was the last time an Iowa congressional candidate was selected this way. To win a party’s nomination, a candidate must win at least 35 percent support in primary voting. To win at Saturday’s nomination convention, a candidate must secure 50 percent plus one of the votes cast. If all the delegates show up Saturday, that means a nominee will be chosen once they win at least 257 votes.