Iowa Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa City, squeaked out a win against Republican challenger John Archer, of Bettendorf, for leadership of the state’s newly-drawn 2nd Congressional District that now includes Davenport and Bettendorf.
At press time, Loebsack had garnered 58 percent of the vote to Archer’s 40 percent, with about 60 percent of precincts reporting. The Associated Press called the election for Loebsack just after 10:30 p.m.
Loebsack, who has served in Congress since 2006, vowed to use his next term to help the middle class.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, and it’s going to be about jobs and the economy,” Loebsack told an excited crowd at the Jersey Grill in Davenport. “We’ve really got to get this economy back on it’s feet.”
Monica Kurth, 62, of Davenport, said one of the main reasons she wanted Loebsack to retain his seat was to help what she hoped would be a re-elected President Obama work with a Congress that has been divisive over the past four years.
“Right now, the best thing Obama could have is a Senate majority and a very close House number,” Kurth said. “If we can get some numbers there, it will help. That’s just been devastating.”
Archer, 40, of Bettendorf, ran on a platform of cutting taxes for businesses and loosening requirements on investors. He said his experience as an attorney for Deere & Co prepared him to work with Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
“This is not the last you have heard from John Archer,” Archer told his supporters in his concession speech. “We still have big problems in this country and I hope and pray our congressman in the 2nd District finds a voice.”
Last-minute phone calls spurring Republicans to the polls gave way to staring at a large-screen television Tuesday night at the Scott County Republican headquarters, where about 200 people gathered to watch election results.
Adela Rasso, 31, of Davenport, said she supports Republicans, like Archer, because they don’t coddle people on welfare.
“I came here from another country. I did not speak English,” Rasso said. “I got a Master’s degree. If I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Much of the debate in Iowa’s 2nd District has surrounded how best to boost the economy. The district includes 24 counties in southeast Iowa, which has struggled with high unemployment through the recent recession.
Loebsack, 59, a former Cornell College professor, has championed higher education and has served on the House Armed Services Committee, where he says he’s worked to ensure troops have the training and equipment they need.