Dubuque Republican will seek 1st District nomination to challenge Braley

Dubuque businessman Blum is former county Republican Party chair

Rod Blum
Rod Blum

A Republican primary is shaping up in Iowa’s 1st District as a second challenger to incumbent Rep. Bruce Braley is set to announce his candidacy Oct. 24.

A third Republican is within weeks of making a decision whether to seek a rematch with Braley, a Waterloo Democrat seeking a fourth term in 2012.

Dubuque businessman Rod Blum will formally enter the race for the GOP nomination at 12:15 p.m. in the Symposium Room of the Best Western Plus Hotel & Conference Center, 3100 Dodge St., Dubuque.

Blum, 56, a former chairman of the Dubuque County Republican Party, is chairman and CEO of Digital Canal Inc, a provider of home building and structural engineering software.

He joins Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje in seeking the nomination. Rathje, 55, is the founder and CEO of International Procurement Services, Inc. He formed the company in 1992 to work with companies all across America in an effort to eliminate corporate waste and cut unnecessary spending.

Meanwhile, Independence attorney Ben Lange, who came within 2 percentage points of defeating Braley in 2010, is being courted by 1st District Republicans to run again. Linn County GOP activists and contributors hosted Lange at a lunch Oct. 21 to encourage him to run.

Lange, 32, has formed an exploratory committee and said he expects to make a decision soon.

As a result of reapportionment, Iowa has lost one of its five congressional seats. As a result, the 1st District has grown to 20 counties. In addition to Linn, it covers Worth, Mitchell, Howard, Winneshiek, Allamakee, Bremer, Fayette, Clayton, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Delaware, Dubuque, Marshall, Tama, Benton, Jones, Jackson, Poweshiek and Iowa counties. Eleven of the counties are not currently in the 1st District.

Blum believes the country has lost sight of principles like hard work, personal responsibility and fiscal sanity “that made this a great country,” he told the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald.Blum said he believed in the American Dream, including the idea that his generation would do better than their parents. He called it tragic that polls show 80 percent of people don’t think their children will do as well as they have done.