But Boswell has a geographical advantage over Latham — one of his only legs up in this race. His former state Senate district included a handful of rural southwestern counties in the new House district.
He's also represented Polk County for the past decade, and voters are familiar with him here. Earlier in the day, Veterans Parade watchers greeted Boswell with the friendly call, "Hey Boz!" as he waved and pointed at them.
"This will have to be a target for him," Boswell told Roll Call between bites of a platter of pork, applesauce and beans. "Of course it will, as it is for myself."
Latham has never represented Des Moines, but he's spent millions of dollars in advertising there during the course of his Congressional career. His current district circles around the counties southwest of Polk County and extends all the way to Iowa's northeastern corner.
"I like this new district. It's very good for me," Latham said in an interview at the fair. "An awful lot of people here think that I represent them now, and certainly in surrounding counties, I do. They're familiar with me. They know me."
Prepared for Battle
Boswell and Latham won't appear as foes on the ballot for more than a year, but their unusual contest is already making waves in Iowa and on Capitol Hill.
For example, Boswell mistakenly thought Roll Call's photographer snapping images of him participating in the parade was a campaign tracker. Meanwhile, Latham is in the process of selling his home in Story County to buy a place in the new district around Des Moines.
Above all, the money race is in full swing.
Latham continues to fundraise at a quick clip, posting $1.5 million in cash on hand, about five times as much as Boswell, as of June 30. That's an advantage that is likely to grow in the coming months, given Latham's friendship with Boehner.
Despite the financial disparity, Boswell declined to acknowledge that Latham may be his toughest competition to date.
"We've always had a contest," he said. "I've been in a swing district, when I was in the state Senate, when I was in Congress, I've had contested races, and he really hasn't. He's been able to accumulate [cash], and that's to his advantage right now, but it's a ways out there."
Boswell's bid for a ninth term has been dogged by retirement rumors, even though the Congressman says there's "no question about" his re-election campaign. If he were to step aside, several Des Moines Democrats would be eager to take his place, or former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack could switch House races from her current campaign versus King in the GOP-leaning 4th district.
Back on Capitol Hill, the dynamic in the Iowa delegation changed with two Members running for the same seat.
Latham recalled when Boswell on July 12 used the procedural floor tactic known as a motion to recommit on the Flood Insurance Reform Act. The bill would provide resources to Missouri River flood victims — many of whom live in the new 3rd district.
Members briefly debated the motion, forcing Latham and King to quickly decide whether to buck their own party to voice their support for the extra funds offered by Democrats. The motion failed, 181-244, with only three Republicans voting in favor of it: Latham, King and Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (N.C.). Boswell's office did not return a request for comment on the matter.
Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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