Dave Loebsack wins re-election for 7th term in Congress

Democrat Dave Loebsack will serve in a seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives for southeastern Iowa, after defeating challenger Christopher Peters.


David Harmantas

Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA) (center) shakes hands with Iowa State Senator Joe Bolkcom at an election night watch party at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Isabella Senno, Politics Reporter

Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, defeated opponent Christopher Peters in the race for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, ensuring he will serve a seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Loebsack has garnered 55 percent of the vote, and Peters finished with 42.34 percent of the vote, according to unofficial tallies reported on the secretary of state’s website.

The initial vote tallies will be certified following an official canvass. The 2nd Congressional District covers the majority of southeastern Iowa, including Iowa City, Davenport, and Burlington.

An energetic crowd cheered on Loebsack’s incoming vote totals at the Big Grove, as a diverse array of Democratic supporters milled about the large, bustling rooms.

Beth Hieronymus, a 55-year-old special-needs teacher in Iowa City, described herself as ecstatic when Loebsack’s win was announced.

“I know Dave personally, and I think he’s an amazing guy,” she said. “He has integrity, he has a tremendous commitment to the hard-work ethic, he cares about protecting people and our environment, and he’s just a well-rounded individual.”

Loebsack, 65, originally hailed from Sioux City. Before entering into politics, he was a political-science professor at Cornell College, a private liberal-arts institution in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Loebsack’s life as a politician began with an upset in 2006, when he narrowly unseated 15-term Republican Rep. Jim Leach in a race for the position he holds today.

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Throughout his campaign, Loebsack defined himself with a platform based on affordable, de-privatized health care, accessible education, increased investments in renewable energy, and improved resources for rural communities.

A transplant to Iowa City, lawyer Gail Brashers-Krug, 50, said she is not very familiar with Loebsack’s opponent, but as a long-time Democratic Socialist, she traditionally votes Democrat.

“He’s done a nice job defending health care and the ACA from repeated attacks,” Brashers-Krug said. “He’s a pretty middle of the road, standard Democrat, and I support Democrats.”

The victory marks the second time in two election cycles that Peters has failed to unseat Loebsack. In 2016, Loebsack won the district by approximately 28,000 votes. A Coralville surgeon, veteran, and small-business owner, Peters, 58, said that there is a chance that he will campaign against Loebsack for a third time.

“I will definitely consider it, but it’ll be a lot of my wife’s and family’s input,” Peters said. “We put a lot on the line, and we have to make sure our family is secure.”

As of reporting time, voting patterns across the 24 counties of Iowa’s 2nd District continued to reflect those achieved in 2016.

During his sixth term, Loebsack maintained his position on the Energy and Commerce Committee, where he helped pass the bipartisan National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018. This act requires the Federal Communications Commission and other federal departments to investigate the feasibility of creating a three-digit dialing code for a national mental-health-crisis hotline system.

Loebsack said he wanted to continue acting through the committee role to focus on rural economic development, health care, broadband and education.

“Now particularly that the Democrats are in a majority, I think I’m going to have more ability to get things done for the people of my district,” Loebsack said.

John Macatee, 68, a recently retired physician, political activist, and lifelong Democrat, hopes that going into his seventh term, Loebsack will continue to expand upon efforts to increase environmental protection, improve cost-effective universal health-care plans, and safeguard women’s rights.

As for the ultimate effect of the midterms, Loebsack said, it remains to be seen.

“We’ll see what happens when the new Congress comes in,” he said. “I really hope that the president will work with Democrats and Republicans alike to move the country forward; that’s the bottom line for me.”