Race heats up for 1st District Senate seat
Thursday, July 11, 2013 4:20 AM
While only three Democrats and two Republicans have officially announced they will seek Iowa's First District Senate seat, another three are considering it.
The seat is available following a recent announcement by fourth-term Democratic Representative Bruce Braley that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Senator Tom Harkin. Harkin, who is nearing the end of his fifth term, has announced he will not seek re-election.
Democrats Patrick Murphy, Monica Vernon and Dave O'Brien have announced their intentions to run, as have Republicans Steve Rathje and Rod Blum.
Murphy (D) of Dubuque has served in the Iowa House of Representatives since 1989.
Murphy announced his candidacy in February, telling the Cedar Rapids Gazette he was ready to "continue the fight" of Representative Braley.
He is a former state House speaker and a long-time party leader.
Vernon (D) of Cedar Rapids is a Cedar Rapids City Council member.
She is a long-time business owner who has served as chair and vice chair of the Cedar Rapids City Planning Commission.
Her background is in organizational development, strategic planning and market research. She is founder and president of the Vernon Research Group.
"I'm running to bring my common-sense approach to problem-solving to Washington," said Vernon in her campaign announcement statement.
Cedar Rapids Attorney Dave O'Brien just announced his candidacy Wednesday morning.
He said his campaign will focus on "advocating for progressive policies to rebuld the middle class."
For additional information, visit obrienforiowa.com.
Rathje (R), of Cedar Rapids, is founder and CEO of International Procurement Services Inc. as well as the Genesis Group.
"Iowans deserve leaders who will focus on doing what is best for our future while embracing bold ideas with the conviction to see them through," said Rathje in a posting on his campaign website.
Blum (R), a businessman from Dubuque, said he is running to preserve the American dream.
"Recent polls have shown that 80 percent of Americans do not believe their children will be better off than their parents ... Every generation in this country has lived better than the previous - I am fighting to keep that dream alive for our children," said Blum in a statement on his website.
Swati Dandekar (D), a former state lawmaker from Marion, has formed an exploratory committee, a federal campaign designation that will allow her to raise money without formally declaring her candidacy.
State Representative Anesa Kajtazovic (D), has also formed an exploratory committee.
She is concluding her second term in the Iowa House and told the Cedar Rapids Gazette she is considering a run "because people are frustrated with Congress and want new leadership."
In the House, she has served on a number of committees, including Commerce, Ways and Means, Veterans Affairs, Local Government and State Government. She also serves on the Economic Development Appropriations subcommittee.
Iowa Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen (R) of Hiawatha also has expressed an interest in the race. He is currently an attorney for CRST International Inc. in Cedar Rapids. He also has previously served as the House Judiciary chair, the House Minority whip and the House Republican leader.
How to file
According to Secretary of State Matt Schultz's office, filing dates are between Feb. 24 and March 13, 2014.
For more information, visit sos.iowa.gov.