Voters in Iowa’s 2nd District face a repeat of 2016, with U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack running for re-election against Republican challenger Christopher Peters. Again this year, our endorsement goes to Peters.
In a district where no-party voters outnumber Republicans and Democrats, Peters is running on a positive message of restoring cooperation and civility in the federal government. A former Army doctor and a practicing surgeon, Peters has specific and compelling proposals for promoting access to health care, one of Iowans’ most pressing concerns. Even though parts of his platform on firearm restrictions and immigration are at odds with stances this editorial board has taken, we are impressed with his overall catalog of thoughtful policy ideas.
We hope Peters is the Iowa Republican who will push back against the party establishment, like he did by publicly withholding his support from Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Even staunch Democrats should see the value of a moderating influence in a Republican caucus too often marked by hostility. If elected, our advice for Peters is to maintain your independence, focus on listening to everyday Iowans and be willing to change your mind when new evidence is presented.
Now serving his sixth term, Loebsack gives voice to some worthy causes, like veterans’ care and rural economic security. But he consistently earns mediocre or subpar scores in measures of legislative effectiveness. As the editorial board wrote in our endorsement two years ago, “After a decade, it isn’t unreasonable to expect an admirable and compelling personal history to give way to congressional consummations. In our view, Loebsack has failed to consistently and effectively deliver those results.”
Loebsack, who declined to meet with The Gazette editorial board, said during a meeting with the Des Moines Register he doesn’t expect to have a committee leadership position if the Democrats take control of the House. Twelve years is long enough to wait to see if Loebsack will ever find his footing as a policymaker and statesman.
Independent candidate Daniel Clark is a sincere champion for important progressive causes, and Libertarian Mark Strauss puts forth several bold and interesting ideas. Neither has the depth or range of policy expertise right now to be an effective legislator, though we encourage them to explore running for lower office.
Iowa deserves a congressman with a passion for building consensus and transcending partisan ideology. We think Peters is up to the challenge.
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