When Republican House Speaker Pro Tem Jeff Kaufmann announced he would leave the Iowa House after his term expires this year, the decision was met with shock and sadness from many within the Republican Party. Kaufmann is well liked among GOP legislators and Republicans were worried about hanging on to the now-Democrat leaning House District 73 seat. They received good news Monday when Kaufmann’s oldest son, Bobby, announced his plans to run.
“I’ve been deeply involved in both county and state politics for over a decade,” Bobby Kaufmann tells the TheIowaRepublican.com. “I will run a vigorous campaign reaching out to every single voter in the district to prove that I am the right person for the job.”
Jeff Kaufmann is a four-term Iowa House representative. He is leaving the legislature to run for the Cedar County Board of Supervisors this November. Kaufmann received a rousing standing ovation at the Cedar County GOP convention on Saturday after delivering an emotional speech. He then announced that he had been “actively recruiting a candidate” to replace him and introduced his son. Bobby Kaufmann told the crowd he was still considering running for the seat and would make an announcement this week.
“He alluded to me that it was time for him to hang it up and told me to give a long hard look at whether this was something that I was interested in, willing to sacrifice for and would have a good chance of winning,” Bobby Kaufmann said. “After pondering it for a short time I decided the answer to all three of those was an emphatic yes.”
Representative Kaufmann is pleased with his son’s decision to run. “I’ve taught all of children to be independent minded, work hard, and listen with compassion. Now I have every bit of confidence that is the kind of lawmaker my son will be,” Kaufmann said.
Bobby Kaufmann turns 27 this June, which would make him one of the youngest legislators in Iowa. However, he has plenty of experience working at the State Capitol. Kaufmann clerked for seven years in the House and worked on Governor Branstad’s 2010 campaign. He studied business at the University of Iowa and was the state chairman of the Iowa College Republicans. Kaufmann lives in Wilton where he is a small business owner and livestock farmer.
“I’ve always had an interest and a love and a passion for public service,” Kaufmann said. “When an opportunity presents itself to put my money where my mouth is, I couldn’t pass it up. I also passionately love my county and my district and want to ensure that their values continue to be served in Des Moines.”
Kaufmann says the focal points of his campaign will be the economy, education and Iowa values. “It’s kind of hard for some Iowans to focus on anything else when they have to worry about putting food on the table. Secondly, I want to focus on education. I come from a family of education and it’s a very important issue to me. The nearest and dearest to my heart is ensuring that small town rural Iowa can have its values and way of life advocated for and defended in Des Moines.”
Bobby Kaufmann made his candidacy official by filing papers with the Iowa Secretary of State’s office on Monday. The newly redistricted House District 73 becomes slightly more Democrat-leaning by encompassing 30 percent Johnson County into it. Democrats hold a voter registration edge of 632. The old seat was split fairly evenly. Kaufmann will face the winner of a Democrat primary between Dick Schwab and David Johnson.
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