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Republicans trying to draft former State Rep. Schulte for 1st District race

Schulte expected to make a decision later this month

Not satisfied with the choices Republicans have in Iowa’s U.S. House 1st District, one of the few Linn County GOP electe
Not satisfied with the choices Republicans have in Iowa’s U.S. House 1st District, one of the few Linn County GOP elected officials has mounted a Facebook effort to draft Renee Schulte. (The Gazette)
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Not satisfied with the choices Republicans have in Iowa’s U.S. House 1st District, one of the few Linn County GOP elected officials has mounted a Facebook effort to draft a candidate.

“Right now we have two choices and neither one has ever been elected to anything,” said Linn County Supervisor Brent Oleson of Marion.

So he launched an effort on Facebook Thursday afternoon to draft former State Rep. Renee Schulte of Cedar Rapids to run for the 1st District House seat being vacated by Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley who is running for the U.S. Senate.

“I like Renee, I like her independence,” Oleson said. “She’s fiscally conservative and she’s represented people from Linn County in the Iowa House and done a good job of picking out issues that Republicans typically don’t have a strong record on.”

Schulte, 42, who was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2010, was a leader of the Iowa Legislature’s effort to redesign how mental health services are delivered. After being defeated in 2012, Schulte continued to work as a consultant on the initiative.

She has confirmed she’s weighing the race. She had expected to support Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha, but when he decided not to run her phone started to ring.

“I’m gathering information and trying to make a decision,” she said. “Nothing’s final. I’m weighing friends, family and work obligations.”

With his Facebook effort, Oleson is trying to “create more choices that mainstream, Main Street Republicans can get behind.”

If she runs, Schulte will join businessmen Steve Rathje of Cedar Rapids and Rod Blum of Dubuque in the primary race. The winner will face the winner of a five-way Democratic primary that includes three Linn County candidates and three women.

Part of the calculation is determining if the race is winnable, Schulte said.

“It’s definitely an uphill climb, but it’s possible,” Schulte said.

She hopes to make a decision later this month.

Schulte, who has degrees in counseling and educational psychology, and her husband Brent have been foster parents to a number of children.

For more on the draft Schulte effort, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/405309132914338/permalink/405310909580827/.