Lange launches second 1st District challenge to Braley

Independence attorney suggests accepting contributions only from Iowans

CEDAR RAPIDS — Ben Lange launched his second challenge to U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley last night with a bid to neutralize Braley’s fundraising edge.

“I am willing to limit my contributions to only Iowans, if Congressman Braley is willing to do the same,” Lange told about 50 supporters at the African American Museum of Iowa and Cultural Center of Iowa. “If he is willing, not a single penny can be accepted by any one of our campaigns from anyone who’s not in Iowa.”

Republican Lange, 32, an Independence attorney, said he’d return to that theme throughout his second try to unseat Braley, a three-term Democrat from Waterloo. Braley, who narrowly defeated Lange in November 2010, reported he’s raised $1.1 million over the past year and has $625,000 on hand. Lange reported in late January that he’s raised $120,000.

Lange said his challenge contrasts Braley, “someone who is bought and paid for by every trial attorney across the country,” with himself — “somebody who’s like you, a small-town Iowan.”

“I am willing to go toe to toe with Bruce Braley with support just from Iowa,” said Lange. “It’s going to get loud. It’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be fair.”

Lange called Braley “the most liberal member of the Iowa delegation” whose votes for Democratic policies made it things harder for residents of the new 1st District — “someone who continues to put politics in front of economic principles.”

Lange’s fundraising challenge leaves himself room to accept support from groups like the American Future Fund, an Iowa conservative group started by Nick Ryan, a campaign director for former Republican congressman Jim Nussle. The fund spent about $1.2 million in anti-Braley ads during Lange’s 2010 campaign.

Braley edged Lange by 4,315 votes of 204,267 cast, or 49.6 percent to Lange’s 47.5 percent.

Redistricting after the 2010 Census saw the district add 11 new counties, including Linn, to encompass 20 counties from the Mississippi River to Marshalltown and from Cedar Rapids to the Minnesota state line.

Rod Blum, 56, of Dubuque, a land developer and CEO of software company Digital Canal Inc., has also announced he’s a candidate for the Republican nomination in the district.

Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje withdrew in December after expressing interest in the race.

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