When Mark Rees announced that he would seek the Republican nomination in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, most Republicans had never heard of him. Rees, a retired architect, was well spoken, articulate, but more soft spoken than his primary opponents.
Rees was also classified as a moderate, and as the campaign drew on, it became more and more apparent that Rees’ views on everything from cap and trade to gay marriage were out of step with most Republican voters.
Still, Rees was respected by his primary voters for the way that he presented himself out to the voters. While most Republicans disagreed with his positions on the issues, they appreciated Rees’ honesty and the way he approached his campaign. Unfortunately, Mark Rees’s honesty is now being questioned after he endorsed Congressman Leonard Boswell, the incumbent Democrat, over Brad Zaun yesterday.
Rees was one of six candidates who participated in a candidate forum sponsored by IowaPolitics.com. In the forum, all of the candidates were asked if they would support the eventual nominee. Rees said, “In terms of who I will support should I will not receive the nomination, I will support the nominee.”
At the March forum, Rees also said, “I believe that Leonard Boswell has become quite ineffectual and that he doesn’t represent the Third District anymore.”
Obviously Rees has changed his tune on Boswell.
In endorsing Boswell yesterday, Rees said, “Boswell’s lifelong record of service to this state and our country is rarely seen in politics today. His character, judgment, and integrity are without question. I trust Congressmen Boswell. I trust him to listen to his constituents and place our interests above his Party. I trust him to make sound, solid decisions void of any self-interest. And above all else, I trust him to always represent this state with honor and integrity.”
The Zaun campaign was also quick to call out Rees’ hypocrisy. Zaun’s campaign spokesperson, Robert Haus said, “When he announced his bid for Congress, Mark Rees said, ‘I am proud to say these [nominating] signatures were collected one door and one handshake at a time. The people I met were eager to share their opinions and ideas, but most of all their frustration with career politicians and business as usual in Washington.’ —theiowarepublican.com, March 18, 2010.”
“Mark has now thrown his support behind a 14-year, career politician who embodies ‘business as usual’ in Washington, DC. Apparently the frustrations Mark heard at the door have been forgotten for political expediency,” Haus concluded.
Rees’ flip-flop will probably bring previous party registration back the forefront in future primary campaigns. Rees had been a registered Democrat before launching his bid for Congress.
Given the timing, Rees’ endorsement is little more than a simple press release supporting Boswell, who is trying to do everything he can to shift the focus away from his liberal voting record. In recent polls, Boswell has been shown to be trailing Brad Zaun by as much as 10 points. Only 31 percent of those surveyed believe that Boswell deserves to be re-elected, while 62 percent want to give someone else a shot.
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