GOP Businessman Won’t Run for Competitive Seat in Iowa

The race to fill Latham's seat is expected to be a tight one.  (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)
The race to fill Latham's seat is expected to be a tight one. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)
Posted January 14, 2014 at 6:17pm

Cable television executive David Oman announced Tuesday that he will not seek the GOP nomination in Iowa’s most competitive House district, nixing the possibility of a tea party vs. business battle in this competitive seat.

Oman, a former aide to Gov. Terry E. Branstad, was eyeing a bid for retiring GOP Rep. Tom Latham’s seat, but he said he decided against a run in order to avoid a potential nominating convention.

“My goal was to combine the best ideas from all parts of the Republican Party into a winning message for the primary and general elections,” Oman said in a news release.”But with half a dozen U.S. Senate candidates and up to seven who may contest the House seat, I am unsure it’s possible to punch through the noise with such a message. The prospect of a special nominating convention holds little interest for me.”

If no candidate receives at least 35 percent in the June 3 primary, a party convention selects the nominee. Republicans fear a convention could result in a nominee that lacks broad appeal in a general election. President Barack Obama carried this Des Moines-based district by a 4-point margin in 2012.

A number of other Republicans have already announced bids for the seat.

  • David Young, former chief of staff to GOP Sen. Charles E. Grassley, moved from the state’s open Senate contest to run in the 3rd District.
  • Secretary of State Matt Schultz announced last week he will run for the seat.
  • State Sen. Brad Zaun announced a bid on Monday. Zaun won the GOP nomination to take on former Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, in 2010. He lost that bid.

Bridge contractor Robert Cramer, a Republican, is also eyeing a bid. Cramer has ties to the religious right in the Hawkeye State, including evangelical social activist Bob Vander Plaats.

On the Democratic side, former state Sen. Staci Appel has been running for the seat since the summer.

While Democrats aren’t completely enthused by her candidacy, they say she will likely be the only serious candidate on their side to run.

The filing deadline for this race is March 14.

Iowa’s 3rd District is rated a Toss-up by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.