The candidate: Republican David Young, former chief of staff to Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa The member: Young is running against five other Republicans in a GOP primary to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. The state: This is the first open Senate seat in the Hawkeye State since 1974, and it has drawn a host of interest from Republican candidates hoping to flip the seat into the GOP category. On the Democratic side, Rep. Bruce Braley is the likely nominee as the only candidate thus far running in the Democratic primary. The candidate’s team: The Tarrance Group (polling), Smart Media Group (media), Heather Swift (communications), Zach Lahn (campaign manager).
Republican David Young, former chief of staff to Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, is preparing for the GOP primary, but he says he's got a contingency plan if the race heads to a party nominating convention.
With six candidates in the GOP primary – and others contemplating bids – it is almost guaranteed that no candidate will surpass the 35 percent threshold to win outright. Should no candidate reach that 35 percent mark, the state party chooses a nominee through a convention. Republicans worry this process may squander what should be a competitive seat.
"It is what it is," Young said of nominating conventions in Iowa in a Thursday interview with CQ Roll Call. "The plan is to win by more than 35 percent, which is my goal. But if it goes to convention, you also have to have a convention strategy, and so we have a strategy and we'll follow it whichever way it goes."
Young, who served as Grassley's chief of staff for seven years, said his experience in Washington makes him an ideal candidate for the job.
"I'm ready," Young said. "I've seen the beast of Washington up close and it's ugly. I know how to penetrate it; I know what works and what doesn't work; and I've already been fighting for Iowa in the Senate alongside Senator Grassley, and I'm not afraid to take on the tough issues. I have solutions and I'm ready."
Iowa's open-seat Senate race is rated a Lean Democrat contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
This series questions the scores of congressional hopefuls who visit the CQ Roll Call offices each cycle. Responses and questions in the video have been edited and condensed. Have a question for a candidate? Follow us at @RollCallPols to learn about upcoming interviews.
Previous candidate interviews:
- Illinois' 12th: Republican Mike Bost
- Idaho’s 2nd: Republican Bryan Smith
- Michigan’s 14th: Democrat Rudy Hobbs
- California’s 45th: Republican Mimi Walters
- Iowa Senate: Republican Matt Whitaker
- Nebraska Senate: Republican Shane Osborn
- Minnesota’s 6th: Republican Tom Emmer
- Minnesota’s 6th: Democrat Jim Graves
- Florida’s 2nd: Democrat Gwen Graham
- Pennsylvania’s 13th: Democrat Daylin Leach