116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
WATERLOO — State Rep. Ras Smith of Waterloo on Tuesday became the first Democrat to announce he’s running for governor in 2022 in attempt to unseat Republican Kim Reynolds.
Smith, who represents House District 62 in the Cedar Valley, made the announcement early Tuesday on social media with a video featuring a farmer, a teacher, his family and others including him walking around downtown Waterloo — with a focus on shoes.
"I grew up with a military mom and a factory father," Smith says in the video about his parents, L.C. and the Rev. Belinda Creighton-Smith. "They taught us faith, hard work and service to community — to show grace to people no matter where they come from, or what shoes they wear."
Smith's campaign originally said it was planning an "announcement" for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at RiverLoop Amphitheatre in downtown Waterloo. Tuesday morning, his campaign said that would now be a "kickoff event" for his gubernatorial campaign.
If more Democrats decide to run for the seat, a Democratic primary will be held next summer, with the election in November 2022.
Smith, 33, was first elected to the Iowa House in 2016, after longtime Democratic Rep. Deb Berry stepped down.
He was reelected in 2018 and 2020 and currently is the ranking member on the education committee, as well as serving on the agriculture, information technology and natural resources committees. He's also the founding member and current chair of the Legislative Black Caucus.
He said on his website, rasforiowa.com, that he's a "proud native of east Waterloo" where he, his wife and two children still live. But, he noted, he feels "just as much at home in rural Iowa where I spent my formative years hunting and fishing."
Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand is also widely expected to enter the Democratic race, indicating he’d announce his decision near Labor Day.
The Republican Governors Association responded swiftly with a statement Tuesday, saying Reynolds is "battle-tested" and has overseen "one of the fastest economic recoveries from COVID." The statement called Smith a "tax and spend liberal."
Reynolds has not officially announced she’s running for reelection. But earlier month she batted down speculation she’d run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Chuck Grassley and told reporters she’d make a reelection announcement soon.
Smith’s District 62, which encompasses the north part of Waterloo as well as Evansdale, Elk Run Heights and Raymond, is heavily Democratic. Smith bested Republican opponent Todd Obadal with more than 63 percent of the vote in 2016, and ran unopposed in 2018 and 2020.
Smith graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor's degree in exercise science and a master's degree in youth and human services. He is the state consultant for nonprofit Communities in Schools.
🚨Special Announcement Event🚨— Ras Smith (@rasforiowa) June 14, 2021
Riverloop Amphitheatre⁰ 225 Commercial St., Waterloo
Tue. June 15, doors open at 4:30 PM, event starts at 5:00 PM
We’ll have entertainment, local leaders speaking, and a big announcement!
If you can't make it, stay tuned for Facebook live info!