Rita Hart, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Iowa’s 2nd District, already has broken a fundraising record in her bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
According to Hart’s campaign, she raised more than $278,000 in her first six weeks as a candidate.
A farmer, former educator and two-term state senator, Hart announced her candidacy for Rep. Dave Loebsack’s seat May 14. In addition to her fundraising total, she will begin the race with with more than $268,000 cash-on-hand.
“I’m proud of the broad, grassroots efforts of this campaign,” said Hart, whose campaign said 93% of individual contributions came from donors in Iowa. “As I meet with folks across Iowa, now more than ever people want someone who will lean in and listen to them, not those loud and powerful voices that keep us from getting things done. Whether lowering the cost of healthcare, guaranteeing affordable educational opportunities, or creating jobs in rural Iowa, we have to listen to the voices that really matter and put their needs first.”
Hart’s fundraising total beat Loebsack’s previous first-quarter record of $258,000 in 2017, according to the campaign. Hart’s campaign noted that their first-quarter total was the second best in the history of non-incumbent Democrats running for Congress in Iowa, second only to Christie Vilsack’s 2011 race against Republican Congressman Steve King.
The 2nd District will be a top defend seat for Democrats nationally. While Loebsack often won by comfortable margins, Donald Trump carried the Southeast Iowa district by four points in 2016.
Newman Abuissa, an engineer from Iowa City, also has announced his candidacy for Loebsack’s seat, who said in April he would not run for reelection in 2020.
Thomas Kedley, the mayor of Osceola, was the lone Republican in the race, until he withdrew his candidacy last month.
Several high-profile potential Republican candidates already took a pass on the district, in part due to Hart’s entrance into the race. Her biography and fundraising connections from her time as Democrats’ lieutenant governor nominee in 2018 make her a formidable candidate in the mostly rural and blue-collar district.
Bobby Schilling, a former Illinois congressman who now lives in Iowa, is reportedly considering a run for the Republican nomination. Starting Line recently noticed Schilling updated his political Facebook page to include a firstname.lastname@example.org email address and bobbyforiowa.com website.
by Elizabeth Meyer