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October 12th, 2009

Potential Opponent to Congressman Braley Emerges in Iowa’s 1st CD

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Written by: Craig Robinson
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Blum PictureIn 2006, Bruce Braley rode the Democratic wave and won easily over his Republican opponent Mike Whalen. Braley’s victory gave Democrats control of the vacant northeast Iowa congressional district that Jim Nussle had held for 16 years. In 2008, Congressman Braley only garnered token opposition in what turned out to be another good year for Democrats in Iowa and across the nation. Now, a Dubuque entrepreneur has his eyes set on Braley’s congressional seat in what is shaping up to be a good year for Republicans.

Rod Blum, the Chairman and C.E.O. of Digital Canal Inc, is looking to send Congressman Braley back home to Waterloo after representing Iowa’s 1st District for two terms in congress. Blum told, “What is motivating me to run is that I believe the basic tenets that made this country great are under attack by the current Congress and White House. Tenets such as personal responsibility, government and individual accountability, free markets (capitalism), high work ethic, strong family values, a belief in the sanctity of life and an overarching belief in American exceptionalism.”

Blum has strong eastern Iowa roots. He graduated from Dubuque Senior High School in 1973, earned a bachelor’s degree from Loras College (Finance) in 1977, and received a Masters in Business Administration from Dubuque University in 1989. In 1989, Blum was one of the initial employees of Dubuque-based Eagle Point Software. In just five years, Eagle Point Software went public on NASDAQ and had 325 employees. In 2000, Digital Canal was created as a result of a leveraged buyout of Eagle Point Software. Digital Canal is a leading provider of home building and structural engineering software. Blum was also named the Iowa Entrepreneur of the Year in 1994.

While Blum has never run for elected office before, he has been making his political views known in eastern Iowa since 2001 as the Dubuque Telegraph Herald’s conservative columnist. Blum’s writings for the Telegraph Herald will be helpful for a couple of reasons. First, having a regular column in the local newspaper helps build credibility and name ID. Secondly, writing a political column means that he has well thought out positions on many of the issues facing our country today, something many first time candidates lack.

Blum sent some of his political columns. Here is a sample:

“Obama’s agenda should be based upon freedom, hard work, accountability and personal responsibility. In other words: that which you can do for yourself should not be provided for by your neighbor. But personal responsibility is not a popular concept these days. Americans blame cigarette companies for lung cancer, gun companies for murder, credit card companies for their debt and fast food companies for their fat butts.”

“While we are crippling our economy and hurting American families, China will be building the equivalent of two new large coal-fired power plants every week. The growth of these plants alone over the next twenty years will result in a net increase in CO2 emissions more than ten times that of reduced U.S. emissions. Restrictive U.S. energy policies cannot successful tackle climate change without China and India implementing similar policies.

Americans will get almost nothing in exchange for the higher costs and economic pain caused by cap-and-trade legislation. Even EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson confirmed an EPA analysis showing that unilateral U.S. action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would have little effect on global climate. Cap-and-trade does not sound like a good deal for America – millions of lost jobs, trillions of lost income and sky-high energy prices – all for undetectable changes in world temperature. We can do better than this deeply flawed legislation.”

Many believe that Congressman Braley is at no risk of losing his seat. They point to the first district demographics, which show 35,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans. Yet, Iowa’s first congressional district is one that Republicans have been successful in recently, and the registered voter advantage might not mean as much in a non-presidential year. If the 2010 elections do end up favoring Republicans, Rod Blum has a chance at unseating Congressman Braley.

With Senator Grassley being on the top of the ticket in November of 2010, along with the likelihood of a strong GOP challenger to Governor Culver, Congressman Braley might have his work cut out for him. As a candidate, Blum provides the voters of the first district with a legitimate alternative to Braley.

“As a Congressman, I want to restore faith in the American Dream for eastern Iowans. I would focus my efforts on preserving and promoting manufacturing and small businesses (which include farms). I would be tough on Homeland Security. I would tirelessly fight to reduce the size and scope of government. Our federal government spends too much and takes on too much debt. I believe in the power of the individual rather than the power of the government,” Blum said.

Blum looks to be the type of candidate who will draw stark contrasts between himself and Congressman Braley on issues like government-run healthcare, cap and trade, cash for clunkers, and the various bailouts and stimulus packages Congressman Braley has voted for. If Blum can be as successful in politics as he has been in business, Republicans will once again hold Iowa’s first congressional district.

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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