In 2008, Christopher Reed entered the race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate just months before the primary. Reed surprised many when he defeated Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje and former state legislator George Eichhorn in the GOP primary. Reed wasn’t as fortunate in his race against Senator Tom Harkin, where he received just over 37 percent of the vote.
Now, Reed is running for Congress in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. Instead of being the last candidate to enter the race, he is the first official candidate to emerge as a potential challenger to Congressman Dave Loebsack. Like in his U.S. Senate race, Reed is expected to be involved in another three-way primary. One of his potential primary opponents is Steve Rathje, who also ran for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2008. The other candidate is Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who won the Republican nomination for the 2nd Congressional District seat last year.
TheIowaRepublican.com attended Reed’s campaign announcement in Ottumwa yesterday and asked the candidate what he had learned from his previous campaign and what he plans to do differently in this congressional race. Reed acknowledged that in 2008, it was him against the world. He noted that he traveled to all 99 counties mostly alone, but this time, he already has a team of volunteers in place to support his campaign. He also admitted that his website was professionally built for this campaign, whereas Reed himself designed his 2008 website.
The newly announced candidate also admitted that he learned a lot from his last campaign. He said, “Last time, I took the race personally. This time, it’s about the people. So the vitriol and the remarks are not going to be there this time because there is too much at stake. This campaign has to be about defeating Dave Loebsack and what he votes for in Washington.”
When asked to size up how he would do against a primary field that would include Rathje and Miller-Meeks, Reed said, “I’m confident that, at the end of the day, people are going to select me as they did in 2008 to carry their message. Now having said that, the more competition in a primary, the better product voters will actually get. Primaries force the people to pick the best person, and that’s what we need. It will allow the voters a chance to vet out the candidates to find out what the candidates are really about, not what they are just saying that they are about, or pretending to be about. With me, you get what you get. I’ll never stray from where I stand, and I will always answer questions directly.”
When asked what separates him from the other potential candidates, Reed said, “I have the vim, vigor, and drive to get this done. I am a conservative. I don’t go around saying I’m a conservative, because I truly am, that’s one huge difference. I think at the end of the day, the voters’ only chance to defeat Dave Loebsack is with me. We should have beat his last year as a freshman. We can’t fall short again. It’s too important. We don’t need to defeat him. We must defeat him.”
Campaign flyers handed out at the event state that Reed supports term limits for all federally elected officials in Washington. When asked how many terms he planned on serving, Reed said, “I have not put a finger on how many terms right now, but I have no desire to be a career politician. I believe the founding fathers of this country did not have career politicians in mind when they set up our system of government up. I believe it is for the individual who goes to serve, get things done, and then turn it over to someone else. Career politicians get out of touch with Iowans, and that gets us in trouble.”
When asked about Congressman Loebsack, Reed said, “The current health care bill which Loebsack supports is a pathway to bankrupting our country. This year’s Congress has already spent more money than all the previous Congresses combined. It’s not sustainable.”
The GOP hopeful also blasted Loebsack for being out-of-step with everyday Iowans. he said, “Cap and Trade would be destructive to Iowa businesses. We already have record unemployment rates. We don’t need more legislation that would take more jobs away from Iowa. We need common sense in Washington that will take care of Iowans who need jobs. There are too many Iowans today who have to worry about if they are going to have a job tomorrow morning. Cap and trade will almost ensure that they don’t.”
Read also accused Congressman Loebsack of not listening to his constituents. “At his town hall meetings, in the face of thousands of Iowans who spoke out against the health care bill, Dave Loebsack is still trotting forward the liberal health care bill. He is not listening to Iowans, the people who voted him into office. We need someone in Washington who will take care of Iowa,” said Reed.
He also said that Congressman Loebsack has been “non-existent” in flood relief efforts. “Loebsack shows up, but 18 months after the flood, we still have people living in FEMA trailers. It’s been over a year past the time that they were promised to be back in their homes.”
The primary in the 2nd Congressional District will be very interesting in 2010. Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks excited many Republican activists across the district in 2008. Miller-Meeks was able to squeak out a 200 vote victory over Peter Teahen in the primary that year. Reed, a more established social conservative, might cut into the wide spread support Miller-Meeks enjoyed in the rural parts of the district.
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