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Only Republican running for Congress in Iowa’s 2nd District drops out

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Mayor Thomas Kedley of Osceola. — official photo

On Saturday, the only Republican candidate running for the seat Rep. Dave Loebsack is vacating announced he is dropping out of the race. Osceola Mayor Thomas Kedley filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to be candidate for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District on May 3.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting with Iowans from all over our 24 county district,” Kedley said in a press release. “They say there is no place like home, and as I traveled, I realized I wasn’t done yet in Osceola. At this time, I feel like I can make the biggest impact at the local and state level. There are many initiatives that I would like to see through and I owe it to our incredible community to do that.”

Kedley, an eighth-grade history and civics teacher, was elected to his first-term as mayor in 2015. Speaking to the Quad City Times last month, Kedley said he expected to face competition from other Republicans, but he would remain in the race through the June 2020 primary.

“I plan on staying the course,” Kedley said at that time. “That’s for sure.”

Although no other Republican has filed to run in the 2nd District, there are two Democrats competing for the seat Dave Loebsack has held since 2007.

Rita Hart, the former state senator who was the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in 2016, announced she is running for Congress on May 14. Earlier this month, Newman Abuissa, a traffic engineer for the Iowa Department of Transportation, declared his candidacy.

Hart is well-known in Iowa politics — she served five years in the Iowa Senate before Fred Hubbell, the Democrat’s 2018 candidate for governor, chose her as his running mate — but this is Abuissa’s first run for elective office.

Abuissa has long been active in politics and community affairs in Iowa City, where he’s lived for 25 years. Born in Syria, Abuissa immigrated to the United States to study engineering at the University of South Dakota. After receiving his master’s degree, Abuissa became an American citizen.

“I’ve been witnessing our infrastructure degenerating over the years and have been watching trust in our government deteriorating also,” Abuissa told the Press-Citizen. “The trust [is deteriorating] because our government is not following our people’s wishes. I want to restore our confidence in government, in our system because I believe we have the best system on Earth. I believe in America. I came as an immigrant. I love this country. I became a citizen. I pledged myself to this country.”

Dave Loebsack, who has represented the 2nd District in Congress since 2007, announced his retirement on April 12.

“When first elected, I had planned to serve no more than 12 years. However, after Donald Trump assumed the presidency, it became apparent that I needed to run for at least one more term in the hopes that I could provide a check on his worst impulses,” Loebsack said in a written statement explaining his decision.

The primary election for the 2020 general election will be held on June 2. Candidates have until 5 p.m. on Friday, March 13, to file the necessary paperwork in order to qualify for the primary ballot.

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