Just a few months after launching her congressional campaign challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Steve King, Democratic candidate Kim Weaver dropped out of the race for Iowa's Fourth District House seat. In a Facebook post she made in June explaining her decision, Weaver said she feared for her personal safety after receiving death threats during the campaign. Now, two months later, another woman has launched a campaign to run in Weaver's place.
Leann Jacobsen announced her bid for the same House seat on Thursday, running as a Democrat trying to unseat King. She's fully aware of the intimidation Weaver experienced, but told Refinery29, "This race is about the future of this district — and that’s just too important to get sidetracked by people who want to divide and scare us."
Jacobsen owns and runs a coffeeshop and wine bar in Spencer, IA, as well as founded a business incubator for local startups. Her priorities in Congress, according to a press release, would be creating jobs and improving Iowa's rural communities so young people are more inclined to stay, as many college grads tend to move elsewhere.
"In many rural Iowa communities, the qualities that have made living here so attractive are beginning to slip away," she said in a campaign press release sent to Refinery29. "Our once-bustling main streets are quieter, and our young people are moving on, finding better opportunities in larger cities. I believe passionately that we can turn things around, and that is why I am running for Congress."
In her announcement video, Jacobsen directly called out her opponent, claiming he does the bidding of special interests instead of tackling the problems Iowans face.
"Sadly, Steve King has become just another politician — a politician who is mostly interested in playing politics and getting headlines for himself," Jacobsen said. (Those headlines have included "Congressman Steve King stands by racist tweet" and "What, Congressman Steve King Asks, Have Nonwhites Done for Civilization?")
Jacobsen faces a tough fight to unseat King, as the district has been held by a Republican since 1995.