Controversial Iowa House representative Kim Pearson recruited conservative activist Jim Carley to campaign for her seat. However, she was caught off guard when Carley announced his candidacy before Pearson publicly said she was not running. Carley declared his intentions in early November. At the time, Pearson said she was undecided on whether or not to seek reelection. Two months later, Pearson declared she plans to step down.
Carley’s views are similar to Pearson’s in many ways. They both consider themselves constitutional conservatives. They both place the abortion issue near the top of their agenda. They both align with Tea Party groups.
However, the differences are stark. Pearson fought against her own party when they tried to pass a late term abortion ban. The bill failed in large part due to Pearson’s efforts. Carley says he would have done things differently. “I would support any bill that would limit abortion from what it is now,” Carley said.
Pearson often takes an all-or-nothing approach toward legislation. She tried to block the late term abortion ban because she believed the bill did not go far enough. Carley also holds strong pro-life views, but believes any bill that saves lives is worth voting for. “We need to stop the growth of the abortion industry in Iowa,” he said. “We need to treat all life from conception to natural death with love. Killing those little babies before they see the light of day is not love.”
Kim Pearson seemed to make it a point to fight with members of her own party. She lashed out at Republicans at tea party events and through the media. Pearson even declared that she would actively recruit candidates to run in primaries against GOP incumbents.
Jim Carley realizes that in order to win the House District 30 seat, he needs help from the GOP. Carley’s campaign invited Congressman Tom Latham to appear at a fundraiser last weekend. More than 50 supporters turned out for the event Saturday in Pleasant Hill.
Latham expressed high praise for the Iowa House hopeful. “This guy is doing this for the right reason. When you look at his life, the service he’s given this country… two tours of Vietnam and then the guard afterwards, he’s always put country first,” Latham said.
Jim Carley retired from the US Army as a Lt. Colonel. He is a lifelong Iowa resident and has been very active politically. Carley is a member of the Polk County GOP central committee and the organizer of the Eastern Polk County Conservative Club.
“I’m running for election because I’m scared to death for my kids and my grandkids. This is why I’m running, right here,” Carley said as he held a copy of the U.S. Constitution. “This carries all the answers to all the problems we have.”
Although social issues are important to Carley, he said jobs and the economy are at the top of his agenda. “One of the things we have to do in this state is we have to get jobs and the economy moving fast. We’ve got to keep Iowa jobs in Iowa. We have to make an environment where they can stay.”
Kim Pearson was able to pull off an upset over well-funded incumbent Geri Huser in 2010, winning by just 159 votes. It was one seat the Democrats were not expecting to lose. Jim Carley knows he will have a difficult time holding onto the seat for the GOP.
“Kim Pearson, bless her heart, beat a 14-year Democrat incumbent,” Carley said. “I know she knocked on a zillion doors and she had a lot of people who knocked on a zillion doors. The Democrats are very unhappy they lost. Jim is not going to sneak up on them. They’re going to be gunning for Jim.”
House District 30 will cover the entire eastern third of Polk County, following redistricting. Altoona City Council member Joe Riding will try to reclaim the seat for the Democrats.
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