House Republicans: Vulnerable Incumbents Have ‘Head Start’ in Iowa

The National Republican Congressional Committee released a memo Wednesday, arguing that two of the nation’s most vulnerable Republicans have a helpful “head start,” as their newly minted Democratic rivals reel from tough primaries in Iowa.

On Tuesday night, Monica Vernon won the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Rod Blum, a first-term Republican who represents Iowa’s 1st District, where 56 percent of voters supported President Obama in 2012. And in the state’s 3rd District, Jim Mowrer won the party’s nod to challenge Rep. David Young, another freshman, in a seat that is viewed by analysts as a tossup.

“Both Rod Blum and David Young have shown that they know how to run strong campaigns by breezing through their respective primaries,” the group said, making its case in a memo to reporters. “On the other side of the aisle, Democrats turned their fire on one another in both the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts and gave GOP incumbents a significant head start in their campaigns for the fall.” 

Blum holds a serious cash advantage, and Republicans said the primary battle “over who could be the most progressive Democrat” could have had the effect of “potentially alienating the very same crossover voters” come November.

Tyler Law, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Vernon “proved beyond a doubt that she is a top-tier candidate with the ability to build and lead a winning campaign,” pointing to her comfortable win. She is a candidate backed by the DCCC’s “Red-To-Blue” program, which, as its name suggests, aims to flip congressional seats for Democrats.

Vernon’s candidacy was boosted by EMILY’s List, an organization that helps organize and raise money for Democratic women who support abortion rights. She was the first candidate endorsed by the group this cycle, and was backed by nearly $170,000 in spending during the primary. EMILY’s List is likely to assist her candidacy in the general election.

Young ended the night with 85 percent of the Republican primary vote, and Republicans said they will paint Mowrer as a “cookie-cutter liberal,” pointing to him being a former “Obama Administration appointee and Vice-Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party.”

In a memo laying out the Democrats’ own case, Law said Young, a former chief-of-staff for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), is the “D.C. Insider,” an answer to the charge that Mowrer is too political, and answered the “Obama appointee” criticism by pointing out Mowrer is a “Iowa National Guard veteran and former Pentagon official.”