The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Second Democrat announces run in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District

Melissa Vine, the director of a Des Moines nonprofit, announced her candidacy on Thursday.

Melissa Vine, the director of the Des Moines nonprofit The Beacon, announced her candidacy for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District seat on Thursday. 

Vine will face a primary challenge against Lanon Baccam, a former U.S. Department of Agriculture official and military veteran, who announced his bid for the seat last week. 

Vine and Baccam face off against first-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Zach Nunn, R-Iowa, a former state senator and Air Force veteran who won his bid against then-incumbent Cindy Axne by only 2,000 votes in the 2022 midterm election

To face off against Nunn, Vine must lead a successful primary challenge to Baccam, a prominent Democrat who has already racked up over a dozen endorsements from prominent state Democrats including U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Before Vine worked at The Beacon, a nonprofit that focuses on providing help to women and children in need, she was a mental health care provider. Vine, a single mother of four boys, pitched her candidacy as one of compassion and empathy in a campaign announcement video on her website and social media platforms. 

“I have spent the past 10 years in therapy rooms, coffee shops, and kitchens where Iowans have shared their stories of heartbreak with me,” Vine said in the video

Vine said she wants to take these stories of heartbreak and use them to make actionable change in Washington. 

“Changing the systems that harm people,” Vine said. “That’s what I’m all about and now I am ready to take this skill to Washington.” 

Vine criticized Nunn’s anti-abortion stances and vowed to be a voice for women’s rights if elected to Congress. 

Nunn said he supported an abortion ban with no exceptions during a 2022 midterm Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District.  

Nunn also voted for Speaker of the House Mike Johnson who co-sponsored a national abortion ban before his election as speaker. 

In a news release, Nunn’s campaign manager Kendyl Parker said Vine’s announcement shows a crowded Democratic primary of “tax-and-spend” Democrats and pointed back to Nunn’s work in Congress. 

“Zach, on the other hand, will continue to focus on serving with Iowa common sense and working to represent all Iowans,” Parker said. 

Vine could not be reached for comment on Thursday. 

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About the Contributor
Liam Halawith
Liam Halawith, Politics Editor
Liam Halawith is a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Public Policy. Before his role as Politics Editor Liam was a politics reporter for the DI. Outside of the DI Liam has interned at the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Southeast Iowa Union. This is his second year working for the DI.