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UI lecturer Gettemy aims for Loebsack’s seat

BY ADAM B SULLIVAN | MARCH 03, 2010 7:30 AM

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A fourth Republican announced this week that he’ll compete to take on Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, in November’s 2nd District election. The newest contender in the fight is University of Iowa lecturer Rob Gettemy.

He said he’s running because he wants to restore power to individuals. Lawmakers wield too much power, he said, and that frustrates him and other Iowans.

“It comes back to that fundamental question: Is our nucleus of solving every problem in Washington, D.C., or around our kitchen tables?” said Gettemy, who lives in Marion. “I get a sense that there are a lot of people out there who have this uncomfortable feeling in our gut, not just with the Democrats but with the overall level of control in government.”

He has been involved with several business ventures, including serving as the president of 1M4JC.com, a company that sells Christian T-shirts, and teaching an entrepreneurship course in the UI Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

Gettemy said the government has nabbed too much control in health care, but he stopped short of outlining many specific policy positions.

“I’m not running on a bunch of specific issues,” he said.

Gettemy’s brand of conservatism with a hint of libertarianism will be popular in November, some analysts predict. Nationally, libertarian-leaning Republicans such as Ron Paul and Gary Johnson have garnered attention since Republican losses in 2008.

However, local libertarians aren’t convinced that popularity will translate to many substantial changes.

Will Wilkinson, who lives in Iowa City and writes for Washington, D.C.-based Cato Institute, said whichever party is out of power tends to rely on anti-government rhetoric, but he isn’t convinced Republicans’ talking points will translate to long-term policy shifts.

“I’m glad to see conservatives pushing back on economic issues.,” he said. “I just feel skeptical about it.”

UI student Jeff Shipley, who is involved in libertarian initiatives in the area, voiced similar reservations.

“A lot of it is just rhetoric. It does and it doesn’t make them more marketable,” said Shipley, noting that many Republicans support large military spending.

Gettemy appears to be the underdog among the Republicans vying to run against Loebsack in November.

Both Christopher Reed and Mariannette Miller-Meeks have previous experience campaigning for Congress, Miller-Meeks having run against Loebsack in the 2008 general election. The other Republican, Steve Rathje, has a dollar advantage, having raised more than $50,000 in 2009.

“I think people are excited in general,” said Tracie Gibler, Miller-Meeks’ campaign manager. “This is a very good year, and it’s going to be an exciting election. There’s a lot of momentum.”


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