The retirement announcement from U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, puts Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District in play. President Donald Trump won the district in 2016 by almost 14,500 votes. Loebsack, as an incumbent, outperformed Hillary Clinton in 2016 receiving more than 29,000 votes than Clinton.
In 2018, the district swung blue at the top of the ballot as the Democratic challenger, Fred Hubbell, won the district receiving over 12,600 more votes than Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. Like 2016, Loebsack outperformed his party’s nominee at the top of the ballot receiving over 13,300 more votes in the district than Hubbell.
Republicans are hopeful in 2020 with a presidential election turnout in a district Trump has won in the past that the Republicans can prevail when Democrats don’t have the advantage of an incumbent.
Since it is an open seat Republicans may have a robust primary to look forward to.
Here is a list of prospective candidates that may make up the primary field according to activists Caffeinated Thoughts spoke with in the district.
Kaufmann, 56, has served as the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa since 2014. Kaufmann served in the Iowa House of Representatives for four terms from 2005 to 2013. Kaufmann served six years in leadership positions within the House Republican caucus including two years as Speaker Pro Tem.
Before serving in the Iowa House, Kaufmann was a Township Trustee and president of the Wilton School Board. He currently serves on the Cedar County Board of Supervisors.
He earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and is a department chair at Muscatine Community College, where he teaches history and government. He also is a seventh-generation farmer.
Kaufmann is known for his fundraising ability. While in House Leadership he helped raise $500,000 for Iowa House candidates. In 2018, the Republican Party of Iowa raised over $10.8 million.
Kaufmann and his wife Vicki raised three sons one of whom is State Representative Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton.
While in the Iowa House, Kaufmann received a 78 percent rating from the American Conservative Union in 2012, the only year they rated Iowa legislators while Kaufmann was in office.
State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, was someone mentioned to Caffeinated Thoughts by several Republican activists. Kaufmann, 33, has served Iowa House District 73 serving his fourth term was first elected in 2012.
He currently serves as the chair of the State Government Committee and serves on the Government Oversight, Judiciary, and Ways and Means Committee. He also serves on the State Government Efficiency Review Committee and the Growing Rural Iowa Task Force.
Kaufmann grew up on his family’s farm in rural Wilton and is a graduate of Wilton High School. He attended Muscatine Community College and studied business at the University of Iowa.
Kaufmann is a crop and livestock farmer who also owns and operates a steel hauling, construction demolition business in Cedar County.
Kaufmann is a member of the Farm Bureau, National Rifle Association, Cedar County Historical Society, Cedar County Soldiers Monument Association and a wide variety of service and volunteer organizations.
During his time in office, the American Conservative Union gave him a 90 percent rating in 2013, 50 percent in 2014, 80 percent in 2015, 57 percent in 2016, 84 percent in 2017, and 82 percent in 2018.
Note: Both father and son won’t run (could you imagine family get-togethers if they did?). I believe Bobby is more likely to run than his father, Jeff.
Former U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, 55, represented Illinois’ 17th Congressional District from 2011 to 2013.
In 2010, Schilling upset the Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Phil Hare by almost 20,000 votes even winning Hare’s home county, Rock Island County, which is a Democrat stronghold. In that election, Schilling raised over $1.1 million.
While in Congress, Schilling served on the House Agriculture, Armed Services, and Small Business committees. The Christian Coalition gave Schilling a 100 percent on their 2012 scorecard.
He lost re-election in 2012 to Cheryl Bustos 53 percent to 47 percent. Prior to the election, the Democrat-controlled Illinois Legislature redrew the district map making a district that already leaned Democrat more Democratic. In that election, Schilling raised over $2.5 million in that election. In 2014, he attempted to win his seat back but lost again to Bustos 55 percent to 45 percent and raised $1.1 million.
Schilling was born and raised in Rock Island, Ill. graduating from Alleman Catholic High School and Black Hawk College.
Prior to serving in Congress, Schilling worked at Container Corporation of America between 1983 and 1987 and was a union steward for the local chapter of the United Paper Workers International Union. He then worked as an insurance agent for Prudential Insurance Company between 1987 and 1995. In 1996, he opened Saint Giuseppe’s Heavenly Pizza which currently has two locations.
Since Congress, Schilling built a house in Le Claire, Iowa in 2016 in order to flee progressive tax policy in Illinois. He has worked to expand his pizza business and is set to open a third location in 2019 and two more locations in 2020. He also runs an economic development consulting business helping to bring foreign investment into the United States with one of his primary clients being the NFL Hall of Fame.
Schilling and his wife Christie have 10 children and 14 grandchildren. They attend Our Lady of the River Catholic Church in Le Claire.
State Sen. Roby Smith, R-Davenport, according to some activists is another person to keep an eye on in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District race. Smith, 41, represents Iowa Senate District 47. First elected to the Iowa Senate in 2010, he chairs the State Government Committee and also serves on the Commerce, Rules & Administration, and Ways & Means committees. He also serves as the vice-chair of the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee.
Smith, elected to a third term in 2018, is not up for reelection until 2022.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a minor in communications from Concordia University, worked at a bank for almost ten years and now owns a small business
Smith and his wife Kari have four children and are members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Davenport. Smith volunteers in his community teaching Junior Achievement, helping with Kids Against Hunger, coaching sports, and serving on the Scott Community College Foundation Board.
Smith earned an 86 percent rating from the American Conservative Union in 2012, 91 percent in 2013, 82 percent in 2014, 90 percent in 2015, 60 percent in 2016, 92 percent in 2017, and 81 percent in 2018.
State Sen. Mark Lofgren, R-Muscatine, serves Iowa Senate District 46. He defeated incumbent Democrat Chris Brase in 2016 and is up for re-election to the Iowa Senate in 2020.
Lofgren, 57, chairs the Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee, vice-chairs the Government Oversight Committee, and serves on the Appropriations, Education, Local Government, and Veterans Affairs committees.
Before the Iowa Senate, Lofgren served two terms in the Iowa House from 2011 to 2015. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District race in 2014. During that he raised over $122,000 in contributions.
He earned a B.B.A in finance from the University of Iowa and works as a real estate associate with Re/Max People. Before that he owned and operated Lofgren Investments, as well as, a real estate business.
Lofgren and his wife Paula have four children and four grandchildren. He is a former track, basketball, and soccer coach for the Muscatine Community Y and Youth Sports Foundation.
State Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Ottumwa, represents Iowa Senate District 41. She was elected in 2018 defeating the Democratic nominee, Mary Stewart, by a little more than 800 votes in a hotly contested race for an open seat after former Republican State Sen. Mark Chelgren announced he would not run for a third term.
Miller-Meeks, 63, chairs the Human Resources Committee and vice chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Appropriations, Commerce, and State Government Committees, as well as, the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee.
Miller-Meeks, an ophthalmologist, served 24 years in the United States Army as both a nurse and physician. She served as director of the Iowa Department of Public Health from 2011 to 2014 under former Gov. Terry Branstad.
She ran unsuccessfully for Congress three times against outgoing U.S Rep. Dave Loebsack in 2008, 2010, and 2014. In 2008, Miller-Meeks lost by over 56,000 votes and raised over $346,000 in contributions. In 2010, she closed the gap losing to Loebsack by a little more than 11,000 votes. Miller-Meeks raised just shy of $567,000 for that election. In 2014, just under 14,000 separated the two and she raised almost $904,000.
She was also the first woman on faculty at the University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology and the first female president of the Iowa Medical Society. She and her husband, Curt have two grown children, Jonathon and Taylor.
Christopher Peters, 58, served nine years in the U.S. Army Medical Corps as a general surgery resident and staff general surgeon. He practices as a surgeon and operates his own clinic in Coralville.
He grad from the University of Kansas Medical School and after his service in the Army completed a second residency in thoracic surgery at the University of Oklahoma.
Peters challenged Loebsack unsuccessfully twice. In 2016, he lost by shy of 28,000 votes raising over $106,500 in contributions. In 2018, he lost by over 38,000 votes and raised over $381,500 in contributions.
In 2010, Peters also unsuccessfully challenged former State Sen. Robert Dvorsky, D-Coralville as a Libertarian.
Peters and his wife Julie have three grown sons.
State Sen. Chris Cournoyer, R-LeClaire, represents Iowa Senate District 49. First elected in 2018, Cournoyer, 48, defeated the Democratic nominee, Patti Robinson, by more than 2500 votes for a seat that opened after former State Sen. Rita Hart, D-Wheatland, was tapped to be the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor running on an unsuccessful ticket with Fred Hubbell. (Hart is likely to run for the Democratic nomination in the Iowa 2nd Congressional District race.)
She is the vice chair of the Education Committee and serves on the Natural Resources & Environment, State Government, and Transportation committees. Cournoyer also serves on the Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee.
Since 1997, Senator Cournoyer has worked as a self-employed website designer and developer. She is also a member of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Council (Southeast Iowa Board), and former president of the Pleasant Valley Community School Board. She also serves as a reserve deputy for the Scott County Sheriff’s Department.
Cournoyer earned a B.A. in computer science from the University of Texas.
She has served as a volunteer basketball, baseball, and soccer coach, as a den leader for a local Cub Scouts pack, a mentor for a girls’ coding program, and helped organize the Pleasant Valley High School Trapshooting team. She is a member of the Quad City Engineering & Science Council, Friends of the LeClaire Community Library, LeClaire Chamber of Commerce Board, Junior League of the Quad Cities Advocacy Committee and North Scott Rotary Club.
Cournoyer and her husband, Kurt, have four children.
Patrick Wronkiewicz, 28, ran unsuccessfully in a lopsided race against State Sen. Joe Bolkom, D-Iowa City, in Iowa Senate District 43 in 2018.
He graduated from the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business in 2018 and, while there, served as president of the College Republicans.
Before college, Wronkiewicz served in the United States Marine Corps.
He currently works with Targeted Victory, a political strategy and marketing firm in Arlington, Va., as an analyst.