On Monday afternoon, former U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling officially announced that he will seek the Republican nomination in the Iowa 2nd Congressional District race.

Schilling, 55, represented Illinois’ 17th Congressional District from 2011 to 2013. He lost re-election in 2012 to Cheryl Bustos and ran unsuccessfully in 2014 to regain his seat. He is currently the only Republican running after Osceola Mayor Thomas Kedley dropped out of the race two weeks ago, but Republicans could still have a contested primary.

“When I served in Congress just a few short years ago, I often disagreed with my friends on the other side of the aisle on a number of important issues. But they were just policy disagreements. We still talked to each other. We still found common ground. We still deeply cherished this great nation and had the same patriotic desire to make America great not just for ourselves, but for our children and our grandchildren,” Schilling said in a released statement.

“Unfortunately, something changed. Our politics have worsened considerably. The voices leading the modern Democratic Party have forced the party dangerously leftward to the point that they are now openly embracing Venezuela-style socialism, higher taxes on working people, banning private health insurance, open borders and free health care for illegal immigrants, late-term abortion up to the moment of birth, ending religious freedom as we know it, and even wacky proposals like the $97 trillion Green New Deal that would hurt working families and destroy our economy,” he said.

Schilling said Iowans can do better than and they are not looking for socialism pointing to the leftward drift of the Democratic Party.

“I’m running on a platform of strengthening families, empowering small businesses, and defending this great nation against those who would seek to tear her down. I’m running to provide a common-sense voice for Iowa families in Congress. We have enough radical progressives in Congress — let New York have Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, let Minneapolis have Rep. Ilhan Omar — Iowa can do a whole lot better,” he said.

Schilling says he plans to visit the district’s 24 counties on an engagement tour. He said he wants to visit with them about issues that matter most to Iowans such as stagnant wages, rising costs, health care, immigration, agriculture, First and Second Amendment rights, parental rights, the right to life, and education.

“I’m excited. This is going to be a lot of fun,” he added. “It’s time to return the People’s Seat to the people. Let’s get to work.”

In 2016, Schilling built a house and moved to Le Claire. He owns Saint Giuseppe’s Heavenly Pizza with three locations in Illinois with a possible fourth opening in Iowa. Schilling also runs 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.

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