The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


March 21, 2014

Democrats see openings in congressional departures



The recipe for Republicans, says J. Hogan Gidley, a senior political adviser for ad maker BrabenderCox, is to focus on "a pinch of the economy, a dash of jobs and a heaping spoonful of Obamacare."

As a Democratic candidate, Foust offers a fix-but-don't-scrap argument.

"We're at a point where we can't turn it back over to the insurance companies," he said. "We've got to take what we got and address the problems that exist."

Elsewhere on the political map, Democrats are upbeat about their chances in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District, where Republican Rep. Tom Latham, a close confidante of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, made the surprise announcement that he would retire after 10 terms. Obama won the district by 4 percentage points in 2012.

Democrats have rallied around former state Sen. Staci Appel. Republicans face a crowded primary of six candidates, including Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, state Sen. Brad Zaun and David Young, who has worked as Sen. Charles Grassley's chief of staff.

If no candidate gets 35 percent on June 3, the decision on the nominee kicks to a convention, where the party's far right has a greater say.

Appel will be battling not only the eventual GOP nominee but Iowa's seemingly shatterproof glass ceiling. Two states — Mississippi and Iowa — have never elected a woman to Congress or the governor's mansion.

New Jersey, where two-term Republican Rep. Jon Runyan is retiring, offers a chance for Democrat Aimee Belgard, a member of the Burlington County Board of Freeholders, the county's governing body. Republicans favor Tom MacArthur, a former mayor, but unsuccessful Senate candidate Steve Lonegan is pressing ahead with a challenge to what he calls "the liberal wing of the GOP."

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