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Rep. Walt Rogers throws his hat in the ring

BY MEGAN SANCHEZ | SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 5:00 AM

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A member of the Iowa Legislature is taking steps to explore the idea of running for an open seat in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District.

One Iowa Representative announced last week he is considering running for the open congressional seat following Sen. Tom Harkin’s, D-Iowa, retirement.

Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, announced on Sep. 12 he has launched an exploratory committee for a potential campaign for Iowa’s open 1st Congressional District seat.

Rogers said the committee is designed to create awareness of his interest in running and work on fundraising. He plans to reach out to past and new donors in hopes of gaining enough support to set a campaign in motion.

Rogers said he considers the national budget to be a crucial issue.

“That’s one of the things I think needs to be addressed in a very strong way and a serious way in our federal government,” he said.

Since his election to the Iowa Legislature in 2010, he said he has seen changes in budgeting practices, but more work needs to be done.

He has also worked in business and youth ministry, and he continues to work with troubled teens through Quakerdale, a Christian organization.

Two Republican candidates and five Democratic candidates are seeking the open seat.

University of Iowa Associate Professor of political science Timothy Hagle noted that in the Republican Party, both declared candidates, Rod Blum and Steve Rathje, have lost in past elections.

He said that if Rogers decides to run, it will give voters who are not confident in either current candidate another option.

“Whether Rogers can sort of make that case would remain to be seen, but he did get himself elected and [being] a sitting legislator, that gives him perhaps a bit of a leg up,” he said.

However, Rep. Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville, said he has not seen an effort from Rogers to work with both parties.

“I think he would be part of the same problem we already have in Washington,” he said. “I see him as more of an extension of what they’re doing in Washington as opposed to a solution.”

Rep. Chip Baltimore, R-Boone, said he thinks Rogers will be a good candidate.

“I know Walt will work extremely hard,” Baltimore said. “He does a great job of working with people from both sides of the aisle to get his goals accomplished.

Since his initial election, Rogers has climbed the ladder of the Iowa House, being elected as an assistant majority leader at the end of his freshman term.

Sen. Thomas Courtney, D-Burlington, said he thinks this election should be interesting.

“I think it will be a good healthy exchange,” he said. “I’m excited about it. I think all these people jumping in there will give us a good choice.”


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