Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa City was first elected to the U.S. House in 2006 during a “wave” election for Democrats, but Loebsack says he can’t predict whether there might be another “wave” election in 2016 with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.
“I think that there’s a lot of uncertainty out there,” Loebsack says. “I don’t think we have any idea what’s going to happen.”
But Loebsack says he is “pretty certain” Iowa will again be among the toss-up states in the presidential election.
“I expect there’s going to be a lot of money coming in here,” Loebsack says.
Loebsack is the only Democrat remaining in Iowa’s congressional delegation and, in that leadership role, he’s been helping Democratic candidates around the state raise money. There are Democratic primaries in two of Iowa’s four congressional districts and Loebsack endorsed Monica Vernon in the first district and Jim Mowrer in the third district race.
“There are folks who want me to get involved in races and sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t,” Loebsack says.
Loebsack does not plan to endorse one of the four Democrats seeking their party’s U.S. Senate nomination for the chance to challenge Republican Senator Chuck Grassley in November. Loebsack endorsed Hillary Clinton on Labor Day of 2015. Loebsack says it’s “perfectly fine” for Bernie Sanders to challenge Clinton right up to the Democratic National Convention this July.
“I think it’s a great idea in some ways for Bernie to continue to contest this. I think we have to be a little bit careful about, you know, sort of the tone of the campaign…because I do believe that, ultimately, Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee and I’m happy that she’s beginning to turn her fire towards Donald Trump,” Loebsack says. “…But clearly, Bernie I think has done a great job articulating a message especially about economic equality and I think it’s wonderful that he continues to do that.”
Loebsack is a non-voting member of a panel the Iowa Democratic Party has put together to review the Iowa Caucus process. Some Sanders supporters have questioned the results and Loebsack says the caucus review committee is “totally open” to hearing from them.
“I think it’s important that they do hear from all the folks who have concerns, complaints, legitimate concerns about how things went at a specific caucus,” Loebsack says. “I think that’ll probably go some distance in healing whatever wounds and divisions there might be out there.”
The Iowa Democratic Party’s Caucus Review panel will meet tomorrow in Des Moines. Iowa Republican party officials will testify in the morning, outlining what steps the GOP took after controversy about how the Iowa Republican Party handled the results of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.
Loebsack is seeking reelection this fall for a sixth term in the U.S. House. Loebsack says 2018 is “pretty far off”, but when pressed by reporters today Loebsack did not rule out the idea he might run for governor in two years.
“I’ve got a race myself this time around, so I’m not really thinking about that,” Loebsack said. “I think it’s important, though, that this election that Democrats do well in the state of Iowa, that we retain the state senate, that we eat into the margin that the Republicans have in the Iowa House and I think it is important that people be thinking, at least, about it — no matter who it is — be thinking about 2018 and that’s why I think participation in this election on the part of the Democratic Party and on the part of Democrats around the state is very important.”
Loebsack made his comments today during taping of the “Iowa Press” program that will air next Friday evening on Iowa Public Television.