Steve Rathje is making another run at elected office. Rathje will become the first Republican to officially declare his candidacy in the 2014 First Congressional District race. Rathje, a Cedar Rapids businessman and entrepreneur, plans to file papers with the Federal Election Commission on Friday, making his bid for the U.S. House official. This bid will be Rathje’s fourth time running for Congress.
The first district seat, currently occupied by Democrat Bruce Braley, will be open in 2014 because Braley plans to run for the U.S. Senate. Rathje campaigned for the same seat in the 2012 race, but dropped out in December of 2011, citing a struggling economy the need to focus his energies on his business and serve his customers. Rathje is the founder and president of International Procurement Services. He returned nearly $100,000 to donors after dropping out.
Rathje also ran in 2010 in Iowa’s Second Distict. He finished a distant second in a four-way primary that was won by Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Steve Rathje was also on the ballot in 2008. He ran a prolonged campaign against Democrat Tom Harkin in the U.S. Senate, but Rathje failed to win the Republican primary. He finished third in a three-way race.
This time, Rathje hopes, the outcome will be different.
“I am running to take my experience, plans and solutions to Washington D.C. to do the same things for this country that I do on a daily basis for my customers, and that is to cut spending, eliminate waste, and bring the good paying jobs that have been outsourced to other countries back home to America where they belong,” Rathje said.
Longtime activist and political strategist Craig Bergman has signed on as a consultant for the campaign. Rathje plans a formal announcement tour for early spring. “I am committed to visiting every county and every town in this district,” Rathje said.
Dems Announce in First, Third Districts
State legislator Pat Murphy of Dubuque became the first Democrat to join the First Congressional District race when he announced his intentions on Wednesday. Murphy is a former Iowa House Speaker.
There is no open seat in Iowa’s Third Congressional District. At least, not yet. Republican Congressman Tom Latham has not given any indication on whether or not he plans to run for the U.S. Senate, although several polls show Latham gives Republicans the best chance to defeat Bruce Braley in a general election.
Meanwhile, a Democrat has already announced his plans to run. Mike Sherzan, a 61-year old financial advisor from West Des Moines, entered the race on Monday.
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