IOWA CITY — President Donald Trump’s 10-point win in Iowa in the 2016 election is emboldening the Republican Party to take on the state’s lone Democratic congressman, U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, the political arm for House Republicans, said Wednesday that Loebsack, an Iowa City Democrat, is one of its 36 top targets for the 2018 election cycle. The list includes a number of Democrats who won last November despite their districts going to Trump.
Loebsack won a sixth term last November by a margin of 51 percent to 44 percent over Republican Christopher Peters of Iowa City. However, Republicans believe that Trump’s 49-45 win last year is a good sign going forward. Peters, while he lost, had little money and got no help from donors who traditionally get involved in competitive races.
Still, if history is any judge it may be tough to beat Loebsack. Even in 2010 and 2014, when Republicans swept to congressional victories across the country, Loebsack was able to hold off Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who was a credible fundraiser and had the backing of her party.
Loebsack was so resilient that when the National Republican Congressional Committee released its top targets list for the 2016 cycle, he wasn’t on it.
No Republican has said yet whether they’re interested in running against Loebsack next year, but Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann has said he wants to make a run at him.
National Republican Congressional Committee officials say the 36 they’ve targeted are “out of touch” with their districts.
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“Our strategy will allow us to be competitive in races throughout the country and achieve our overall goal of keeping Republicans in control of the House,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, said in a statement.
Loebsack’s camp said it’s used to being targeted.
“Republicans have long sought to unseat Dave and time and time again they have failed because Dave’s first priority has always been heeding the needs and concerns of Iowans, not playing the political games Republicans too often engage in,” said Joe O’Hern, Loebsack’s campaign manager.
Loebsack also was targeted in television advertising launched by the American Action Network, a group aligned with the House GOP.