Tessler bows out of Iowa 2nd District open seat race

Veronica Tessler
Veronica Tessler

Although it’s long been a dream to serve in public office, Iowa City businesswoman Veronica Tessler has decided not to run for Congress.

Tessler posted on social media that “with a heavy heart,” she has decided not to seek the Democratic nomination in Iowa 2nd District. There will be an open-seat race in 2020 because U.S. Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack has announced he will not see re-election. Loebsack was first elected in 2006.

Tessler’s announcement follows a similar decision by state Sen. Kevin Kinney of Oxford not to run.

Like Kinney, Tessler, 33, has not endorsed another candidates.

Tessler, who owns Yotopia, an Iowa City frozen yogurt shop, said the reality is that “this very moment is not right for me, given other responsibilities I must address with my business.”

In her announcement, Tessler offered suggestions on who should run in the 24-county district that stretches from Johnson County to the Mississippi River on the east and Missouri to the south.

“For too long, Democrats have played it safe,” she wrote. “These times call for courageous leaders, and I urge those willing to fight for the solutions we need to get in the race,” she said.

Loebsack’s retirement, she said, provides an opportunity for “fresh, bold leadership.”


Tessler is hoping for a candidate who will support Medicare-for-All, the Green New Deal to combat climate change and expansion of rural broadband, who will support small business and break up “Big Ag” to provide farmers the opportunity to “live with dignity again.”

The daughter of an immigrant, Tessler sees a need for immigration reform “that starts with recognizing that immigrants are part of what makes this country great.”

However, that won’t be her, Tessler said.

“I have a deep love for this community and believe strongly in the need for bold leadership given what’s at stake at this moment in history,” she said.

So far, former state Sen. Rita Hart of Wheatland, who was the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Quad Cities attorney Ian Russell and Scott County Supervisor Ken Croken have expressed some level of interest in seeking the seat being vacated by Loebsack.

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