Lanon Baccam wins 3rd District Dem primary, will face Zach Nunn

Lanon Baccam

By Ty Rushing

June 4, 2024

Baccam defeats Melissa Vine to challenge Republican incumbent

Lanon Baccam defeated Melissa Vine in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District and will challenge Rep. Zach Nunn, who ran uncontested in the Republican primary, in the fall.

The Associated Press called the race for Baccam a little after 8 p.m. This was his first election victory as a candidate. Baccam captured 84% of the vote while Vine garnered less than 16 percent, according to unofficial results.

In a statement, Baccam said he was “grateful for the support and trust” of Iowans who voted for him. He went on to talk about why he decided to take on Nunn.

“I stepped up to run for this seat because I saw the complete lack of leadership from Zach Nunn who has abandoned Iowa to play DC politics,” Baccam said. “Instead of getting things done for Iowans, he’s laser-focused on putting politicians in charge of women’s healthcare decisions, threatening seniors’ retirement benefits, and making it harder for us to get ahead.”

The 43-year-old military veteran is a former Biden campaign staffer and worked under former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack in his capacity as US Secretary of Agriculture. Baccam, who lives in Des Moines, was born and raised in Mt. Pleasant and is the son of Tai Dam refugees.

Baccmam’s campaign priorities are lowering costs while creating good-paying jobs, protecting Social Security and Medicare, defending reproductive rights, fighting for small towns and rural communities, and uniting Iowans.

Nunn, a Republican, has represented Iowa’s 3rd District, which includes Des Moines, since 2023 after narrowly defeating former congresswoman Cindy Axne in 2022. He is a 20-year military veteran who previously served in the Iowa House and Iowa Senate.

The 45-year-old incumbent’s campaign priorities are supporting Iowa families, defending the right to free speech and bear arms, the economy, defending the US Southern Border, opposing abortion and simplifying the adoption process, national defense, and growing agriculture.

Nunn’s campaign manager Kendyl Parker provided the following comments shortly after the Democratic primary results were announced.

We’re confident Iowans will reject Lanon and his former bosses’ tax-and-spend, open-border policies that he has made his life’s mission to defend,” she said. “While Lanon tries to run from his past to deceive Iowans, Zach will continue to deliver results for families.”

In a statement, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Suzan DelBene said she expects this to be one of the closest races in the country and that there is “no better candidate” to flip this district.

“While Zach Nunn pushes a dangerous agenda of banning abortion nationwide and threatening Social Security and Medicare, Lanon has never let partisanship get in the way of delivering results, and that’s exactly how he’ll serve in Congress,” DelBene said.

Story was updated with results and comments from Lanon Baccam and Zach Nunn’s campaign.

  • Ty Rushing

    Ty Rushing is the Chief Political Correspondent for Iowa Starting Line. He is a trail-blazing veteran Iowa journalist, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and co-founder and president of the Iowa Association of Black Journalists. Send tips or story ideas to [email protected] and find him on social media @Rushthewriter.

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