AMES, Iowa – On Tuesday, J.D. Scholten, a Democratic candidate in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, held a meet and greet at the Mucky Duck Pub in Ames, Iowa, to celebrate filing his nomination petition signatures with the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.
Scholten reminded those in attendance that his 2018 campaign against U.S. Rep. Steve King moved the needle 24 points from the results of the 2016 election, and he received 25,000 more votes than there are registered Democrats in the district.
He said his campaign was and is unwilling to write anyone off.
“Doesn’t matter if you’re Democrat, independent, Republican, we’re going out there to try to earn your vote. And we’ll continue to do that. We’re looking on building this movement and in taking what we did last time and just expanding on it,” Scholten said.
He also said that Iowa’s 4th Congressional District is unique.
“And we’re blessed because, in this district, it’s probably the only district in America where the incumbent has a primary, and the challenger doesn’t,” Scholten added.
Iowa’s 4th Congressional District has more registered Republicans (+63,000) and independents (+49,000) than registered Democrats. A Democratic candidate can’t gain any traction in that district without garnering the support of independents and Republicans.
Caffeinated Thoughts asked Scholten how he would reach out to Republicans who may be disillusioned with King and President Trump but are wary of the direction of the Democratic Party.
“Well, I think what one of the things we talked about a lot is his focus on Iowa’s Fourth District’s needs. And there’s a lot of things. I mean, you look at agriculture when it comes to agriculture in us being the second most agricultural producing district in America, there’s a lot of things I agree with Senator Grassley on. He talks all the time about antitrust and enforcing our antitrust laws, and that’s one of my biggest issues. And there’s there’s a lot of commonality. My neighbor caucused for Trump and is a very strong conservative. And we realize we actually agree more on stuff than we don’t agree. And so a lot of national narrative is we can’t find commonality,” Scholten answered.
He pointed out that he doesn’t expect Republicans will agree with him on everything.
“We don’t agree upon everything right, but at the end of the day, there’s so much more that we can agree on, then we can’t,” Scholten added.
Caffeinated Thoughts asked him if elected where he differed with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“One of the reasons I decided to run is because, you know, there’s this thing where like, people are like, Oh, you’re a moderate Democrat, or you’re a progressive Democrat. And I feel like the rural Democrat is being missed,” Scholten answered.
He said former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is his hero, and voices like his are what’s missing in Congress, especially at a time when Democrats are becoming more urban. He said the district needs someone who will listen to their concerns, which is the type of candidate he is trying to be.
He said he would take on a Democratic president if they pursued policies detrimental to Iowans.
“You look at, like the Renewable Fuel Standard being abused, if that’s a Democrat at the top that’s doing that. Damn right. I’m attacking that,” Scholten explained.
He said one of his biggest frustrations with King is his lack of leadership after being in Congress for 18 years.
“We got 55,000 farmers, according to USDA, in the Fourth District, and we got our backs against the wall. There’s so many things we can do for this district,” Scholten added.