SIOUX CITY | Sioux City native J.D. Scholten was bound for distant Cerro Gordo County and handled press calls in a car Tuesday, in announcing his candidacy for Iowa's 4th congressional district seat held by U.S. Rep. Steve King.
Scholten's announcement was posted to his campaign website, which said an official launch event will be held at an unspecified date. Scholten is a Democrat who becomes the sole candidate of the party, after Kim Weaver, of Sheldon, dropped out of the 2018 race.
In a phone interview, Scholten, 37, said he has little name identification in his first run for elective office as he adjusts to his new life after returning to Iowa in June. Scholten also noted that he has ties all over the 39 counties of the 4th District, as his parents hail from Larchwood and Lake Mills, and he lived in Nevada and Sioux City over his years of being raised with Iowa values.
Scholten was on his way to speak to three groups in Clear Lake, then heading back to Siouxland for stops in Le Mars on Wednesday and in Sioux City, prior to a weekend fundraiser in Minnesota, the state he had most recently lived in. He's pointing toward the November 2018 election for the chance to beat King, a person Scholten didn't mention by name during the interview.
"I am dedicating the next 17 months of my life to traveling and meeting as many people as possible. I am asking a lot of my little Nissan Altima," he said.
Scholten in a website statement said politics has become too divisive and divorced from the lives of people.
"I was raised to believe that hard work, civility and community are the values we should all aspire to, and I’m committed to bringing the same values and a new energy to this campaign. The 4th (District) needs a voice that cares more about building our district’s future than it does about dividing us apart," Scholten said.
King has won seven elections to the U.S. House, beginning in 2002. King defeated Weaver in 2016.
Scholten graduated from East High School, then played baseball at Morningside College and the University of Nebraska before graduating from UNL. He played baseball for several years in the U.S. and overseas, including for the Sioux City Explorers. He also worked as a paralegal.
He is a son of Jim Scholten, who retired in 2011 after 28 years as Morningside baseball head coach.
Scholten said he bought his childhood city home and will work remotely as a paralegal and technical consultant, adding the fact that he is single will give him plenty of time to campaign.
"I have to show who I am," he said.
His biography notes that Scholten is a lifelong Democrat who took a 20 hour one-way bus ride to protest the Iraq war and has volunteered on local, state and national campaigns.
Scholten said health care will be a key issue, saying the 2010 Affordable Care Act enacted by Democrats should not be completely repealed by majority party Republicans. He said the health care law should be amended to cover as many people as possible, while care should be given as efficiently as possible to reduce costs.
"Medicare for all is what I am leaning toward," he said.
If other Democrats enter the Iowa 4th field, a party primary in June 2018 would determine the nominee.