A Cedar Rapids businessman who has ended his campaign for the Republican nomination in Iowa’s new 1st District has been on the road returning nearly $100,000 in campaign contributions.
Steve Rathje, who had made plans to challenge 1st District Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, has been returning the contributions to “those that believed, and still believe, in my ability to win this congressional seat,” he said in a statement released Dec. 15.
Abandoning the campaign became necessary as economic pressure mounted on his business, International Procurement Services, Rathje explained.
“I have full confidence in those I’ve hired to lead my company in my absence, but what does it say about me … if I continue down the current path ignoring obvious problems and the consequences that could’ go along with them?” he said.
International Procurement Services seeks out and utilizes American companies to make manufactured components cheaper, faster and better than overseas competitors, according to Rathje. Using American manufacturers, he eliminates custom duty fees, tariffs, ocean freight and the waste he said is common when working with overseas suppliers.
However, as the economy has deteriorated and “large customers push payments on receivables well beyond that which we had originally agreed to, tough decisions have to be made,” Rathje said.
Rathje isn’t leaving politics, he said in his announcement.
“As time permits I will continue to travel and speak to you and others in regard to our conservative values, principles and my constitutionally based solutions,” he said. “Once this issue is behind me, I will return.”
Rathje previously sought the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate and 2nd District.
In the new 1st, Dubuque businessman Rod Blum is seeking the GOP nomination. Independence attorney and 2010 Braley challenger Ben Lange is expected to join the race after the first of the year.