SIOUX CITY -- Bret Richards is nearing his goal of visiting all 39 counties in Iowa's 4th district for a first time, as he works to unseat incumbent Rep. Steve King next year.
Richards, an Irwin Republican, stopped in Sioux City to discuss his campaign Friday. By the end of July, he plans to campaign full-time. That's shortly after he finishes a teaching stint at Creighton University in Omaha, and will ramp up his stops in the district.
Richards said he has visited 33 counties, and hired a campaign manager in May. Thus far, he has trailed in the campaign fundraising race, in the Republican contest that includes King, state Sen. Randy Feenstra, of Hull, and Jeremy Taylor, a Woodbury County Supervisor and former state legislator from Sioux City.
No Democrats have declared their candidacy in the 4th District, the most Republican of Iowa's four congressional districts.
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A businessman and former mayor of the small town of Irwin, Richards said he didn't have specific criticisms of the Republicans who are aiming to win the June 2020 primary election to become the party's nominee.
"I am running my own race. We'll have opportunities to differentiate ourselves. One thing that differentiates me is that I am not a politician. I am an average Iowan who gets things done," he said.
Regarding King specifically, Richards said, "Incumbents are there too long." He also said Iowans are frustrated that federal lawmakers are bickering on "political fights," rather than addressing such important issues such as reining in health care costs.
"Instead of trying to fix the problem, they will try to find the issue they can fund raise on," Richards said.
Richards said the 2010 Affordable Care Act designed as health care reform was too focused on health insurance and not enough on cost containment. He said another key concerning issues involves "states rights," or the ability of individual states to settle key issues in a time he said federal agency bureaucrats have too much clout.
"The centralized government is too powerful," Richards said.