The Iowa Democratic Party now officially has a candidate running in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. J.D. Scholten, who ran against U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in 2018, announced on Monday that he will run for Congress again.
Scholten, 38, released a video announcing his campaign:
Scholten played minor league professional baseball in Canada, Europe, and for the Sioux City Explorers. He current works as a paralegal specializing in intellectual property and trial law.
Scholten outraised King by over $2.3 Million in 2018, but lost the election by over 10,000 votes – 3.4 percent – in the closet general election King has run in since he was elected to Congress in 2002.
It’s not certain whether Scholten will face King in the general election as there is a competitive four-way Republican primary. State Senator Randy Feenstra, R-Hull, has significantly outraised King who only had $18,366 cash on hand at the end of the last quarter.
Feenstra responded to Scholten’s announcement.
“Two years ago, Congressman Steve King almost handed Iowa’s 4th Congressional district to Nancy Pelosi when liberal Democrat J.D. Scholten nearly won. King’s performance last year was one reason I decided to run for Congress. The families of Iowa’s 4th District deserve an effective conservative leader who can win and ensure our voice and our values are represented in Congress. Today’s announcement that Scholten will again seek the seat further highlights the need for Iowa Republicans to nominate an effective conservative that will win in November. Our campaign has earned the support of conservative activists, elected officials and leaders across Iowa and all over America because they know I am an effective conservative that will win in November and ensure President Trump’s agenda is advanced in Congress,” he said.
King did not acknowledge the announcement.
Even if King wins the primary with weak fundraising, it’s unlikely that Democrats will flip the seat, especially in a presidential election year. As of August 1st, registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats by over 70,000 voters. President Donald Trump, who will be at the top of the ticket, won the district by over 27 percent in 2016. Scholten would have to sway a large majority of the almost 175,000 independents in the district and expand his margin of victory in Boone, Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Story, Webster, and Woodbury counties. King would also have to underperform in staunchly Republican counties like Lyon and Sioux counties.
Considering Scholten could not pull off a win in 2018 with a smaller midterm election turnout (compared to presidential election years) and a huge fundraising advantage during a blue wave election cycle, I doubt he’ll pull it off in 2020. Democrats would have a better shot with a moderate candidate or “blue dog Democrat” during a midterm election. Scholten is too progressive for make-up of the district.