There has been no shortage of political maneuvering in Iowa this year. While most of the news has centered on the open U.S. Senate seat in 2014, plenty of activity is also happening in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. Things have been quieter in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. A number of people have looked at the possibility of running against Congressman Dave Loebsack, but nobody has taken any formal steps to actually challenge the four-term congressman.
That is about to change. State Representative Mark Lofgren has stepped forward to run for Congress in Iowa’s Second Congressional District. Lofgren first ran for the legislature in 2010 against an incumbent Democrat in a competitive district. He won with 57 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2012 in an equally tough district with 53 percent of the vote, despite Mitt Romney’s struggles in Muscatine County.
Besides being a legislator, Lofgren owns and operates a financial investment firm in Muscatine. His wife is a teacher and librarian with the Muscatine Public School District, and his eldest daughter, Emily, is a former member of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee. Lofgren holds a degree in finance from the University of Iowa. He is well respected in his community and is known as being a hard-working candidate.
After narrowly defeating Congressman Jim Leach in 2006, many Republicans felt that Loebsack was vulnerable. Yet Loebsack has been able to withstand two challenges from Mariannette Miller-Meeks in 2008 and 2010, and another from John Archer in 2012. Loebsack comfortably beat Miller-Meeks and Archer in 2008 and 2012 when he shared the ballot with President Obama, but in 2010, Miller-Meeks came within five points of defeating him.
The 2014 race could end up being more like 2010 with no presidential campaign boosting turnout for Democrats, and a popular Republican in Terry Branstad will once again top the ballot. Branstad has a history of performing well in eastern Iowa, and having him on the ballot should help whoever the Republican nominee is.
Even though Miller-Meeks came up short in 2010, the recently reconfigured 2nd Congressional District is far more favorable to Republicans than it was before. So while Loebsack was able to easily win re-election in the new district, we have yet to see how he will withstand a substantial challenge in his new district during an election year that should favor Republicans.
Lofgren gives Iowa Republicans a credible and hardworking candidate in the 2nd Congressional District. There is a strong likelihood that Lofgren will face a primary opponent for the Republican nomination, but thus far no other candidate has stepped forward to run. Miller-Meeks has told the Des Moines Register that she is considering taking another shot at Loebsack, but to do so, she would have to leave her position as the head of the Iowa Department of Public Health.
TheIowaRepublican.com will have more on Lofgren as he is scheduled to make his formal announcement later today.
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