Republican businessman Rod Blum is seeking a third term in the U.S. House. Abby Finkenauer, a two-term member of the Iowa House, is the Democratic challenger. Both are from Dubuque.
Christopher Budzisz, a political science professor at Loras College in Dubuque, says this is no local race.
“Whether it’s the money coming in or the actions of outside groups or just frankly the shadow of President Trump and national political discussions, the first district is definitely, I think, being influenced by national trends,” he says.
Donald Trump won the district by three points in 2016 after Barack Obama easily won it twice. Democrats are hoping to win it back. President Trump visited Blum in the district in July for a roundtable discussion at a community college. In October at a western Iowa rally, the president credited Blum for securing federal funds for flood protection in Cedar Rapids.
“And I have to say Rod is fighting to reform welfare, reduce crime and continuously cut your taxes,” Trump said.
Finkenauer had her endorsement moment Tuesday night at a rally in Cedar Rapids. Finkenauer worked on former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign.
“She’s tough,” Biden said, “…and she’s proved herself over and over again just in the few years she’s been engaged.”
Finkenauer, who is 29, would be the second-youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. House. Blum, if he’s re-elected, would win the third race in which polling indicated he was the underdog.
The Libertarian candidate in the first district is Troy Hageman of Calmar.