Mike Shields

Iowa’s 3rd District was one of the first Member vs. Member races to develop this cycle after redistricting, with 78-year-old Democrat stalwart Leonard Boswell running against Republican Tom Latham. The district covers southwest Iowa – from Des Moines to Council Bluffs. Under the newly drawn lines, both Bush and McCain narrowly won the district in their respective races. The district is a true swing seat but leans slightly Republican which makes it more difficult than the Democratic leaning district Boswell currently represents.

This will be one of the most competitive races in the country with Democrats promising to pour in millions to defend one of Nancy Pelosi’s oldest allies. In fact, the Super PAC "House Majority PAC" has already begun running attack ads to distort Tom Latham's record. They know how flawed a candidate Leonard Boswell is.

For example, Boswell is one of the only candidates in the country who thinks it is a good idea to bring liberal Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to his district to campaign with him. He even said that he was “proud” of what Pelosi accomplished. Neither San Francisco politician Nancy Pelosi nor President Barack Obama's agenda fit with the middle-class priorities of Iowa voters.

In fact, Boswell is a poster child of what is wrong with Washington as evidenced by his out-of-touch voting record. Boswell voted for the failed $800 billion stimulus plan that was supposed to create jobs but instead has made our economy worse and massively increased the debt we owe to China. In addition, Boswell backed President Obama’s healthcare takeover which does nothing to address skyrocketing healthcare costs, cuts $500 billion from Medicare and empowers unelected bureaucrats to cut Medicare; endangering seniors’ access to care. You can bet Iowa voters will want to know more about the waivers and set asides that big corporations are getting from the Obama administration on the new health law, while Iowa small business owners have to grapple with new regulations, taxes and fees.

Not only is Boswell’s job-destroying voting record going to make re-election an uphill climb, the long-time incumbent is also at a significant resource disadvantage. At the end of the 4th quarter of 2011, Tom Latham had ballooned his campaign coffers to $1.9 million, compared to Boswell’s $493k. Moreover, Latham's campaign already has an aggressive grassroots organization with over 400 precinct leaders in place that cover all 384 precincts in the new district.

It's not surprising grassroots Iowa voters are coming out in big numbers to support Tom Latham. Unlike Boswell, Latham has stood up to Washington insiders and voted against the massive bailouts, against the failed stimulus and against the big government takeover of healthcare. Latham has fought to reduce costly federal regulations on Iowa small businesses and farmers by sponsoring legislation to turn back Washington’s regulatory attack on family farm youth. While Latham has been a leading voice for Iowa farmers in Congress, Boswell continues to push policies that will destroy family farms, he even voted against disaster relief that would have provided critical aid to Iowa families hit by the Missouri River flooding.

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between two candidates. But this year, Iowa voters have a clear choice between two sitting members of Congress with two very different records. Tom Latham has a proven record of putting Iowa taxpayers first, cutting regulations, cutting spending and sending power out of Washington back to small business owners and family farms in Iowa. Leonard Boswell unfortunately has chosen a different path in Congress; to be a rubber stamp for President Obama and the Democratic party agenda of higher taxes, more spending, more debt to China, more Washington DC control and fewer jobs for Iowans.


Mike Shields

Mike Shields is the Political Director of the NRCC.