By Jim EllisApril 16, 2019 — Seven-term Iowa Rep. David Loebsack (D-Iowa City) announced Friday that he will not seek re-election in 2020. Loebsack, a former college professor, first came to Congress in the 2006 election when he unseated GOP Rep. Jim Leach in a major upset victory.
Since his first re-election, Loebsack has generally faced Republican competition, but the GOP has never been able to elevate a challenge against him to top-tier status. Still, in his seven elections, Rep. Loebsack recorded only a 53.7 percent average victory margin. Last November, he defeated Republican Chris Peters, who also ran in 2016, 54-42 percent.
Iowa’s 2nd District occupies the southeastern quadrant of the four congressional districts in the state under a mapping plan that divided the territory geographically by quarters. The two largest 2nd District population centers are the cities of Davenport (102,000 population) and Iowa City (74,000).
Politically, the 2nd looks to be the strongest Democratic district of the state’s four seats, but the electorate did support President Trump with a 49-45 percent margin. Previously, however, President Obama ran strong here in both of his national campaigns, carrying the district 56-43 percent in 2012 and 57-42 percent during his initial 2008 campaign.
With President Trump needing to win Iowa next year, it is clear that his campaign will attempt to maximize right-of-center turnout in IA-2, meaning a potential Republican open seat congressional candidate should get an indirect boost. Now, with no Democratic incumbent running to defend the seat, this district figures to become a key GOP conversion opportunity.