CLARION, Iowa | A North Central Iowa man will run as a member of the Libertarian Party in his quest to win the Iowa 4th District seat held by U.S. Rep. Steve King.

Charles Aldrich, who lives in Clarion in Wright County, on Monday announced he has gathered enough signatures on petitions to become a candidate on the November ballot. He will officially file to undertake that step when the election calendar clock starts in February.

In an email to the Journal, Aldrich said the two major political parties are not addressing key issues, so he will run as a Libertarian, with a view to curtail federal growth.

"The Republican and Democratic (parties) want to increase federal government and federal government control. I would like to reduce the federal government and federal government control," he said.

Aldrich, 60, is a former Marine who has a college degree in engineering. He described past work as a manufacturing and design engineer, and now is self-employed, aiming to bring a patented invention to market.

Aldrich has not won elective office. He unsuccessfully ran for a U.S. Senate seat in Iowa in 2016, when Sen. Charles Grassley easily won re-election. Aldrich noted he set the Iowa record for most votes by a Libertarian in a U.S. Senate race that year. One of five candidates on the ballot, he received the most votes of the three minor party nominees. He collected 41,784 votes statewide, far below the more than 926,000 for the Republican Grassley.

The Libertarian candidate said the government is pursuing misguided initiatives by "increasing the debt, giving money to other countries, giving money to corporations, sending troops to fight in conflicts which are not declared wars, collecting more than 39 percent of the gross domestic product in taxes, collecting taxes from people who make less than minimum wage at 40 hours a week, spying on U.S. citizens."

King has handily won eight two-year terms in the U.S. House, dating back to 2002.

"If I can convince the voters they should have more control of their own lives, I could win," Aldrich said.

Democrats in the field include LeAnn Jacobsen, a first-term Spencer City Council member, J.D. Scholten, a former professional baseball player and Sioux City native, John Paschen, a pediatrician from Ames, and Paul Dahl, a bus driver from Webster City.

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County and education reporter

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