Rep. Dave Loebsack’s announcement that he won’t seek reelection in 2020 gives both parties a chance to compete for the seat, an early battleground ground in which Democrats try to hold their majority for a second straight term.
The 2nd Congressional District, in southeastern Iowa, has been in Democratic hands since Loebsack, D-Iowa, wrested control of it in the 2006 Democratic wave. Previously it had been represented by a Republican, Jim Leach, for 30 years.
In 2008 and 2012, President Barack Obama won the district by double digits, but in 2016 President Trump won the district by 4 points.
The Cook Political Report which tracks and reports on elections rates the the district as D+1, which means the district usually tracks one percentage point more Democratic than the whole country on average.
FiveThirtyEight, which tracks and rates polls, rates the district as a top 20 elastic congressional district, meaning the district is more sensitive than most to swing back and forth between parties.
That means both parties will likely take a shot at the seat. Iowa went big for Trump in the 2016 presidential race, but two years later, two Democratic House challengers beat incumbent Republicans.
House Republicans would need to win about 19 seats to reclaim the House majority they lost in 2018.
Loebsack said in a statement he released Friday that he had hoped to retire earlier but the election of Trump made him run for one more term.
“When first elected, I had planned to serve no more than 12 years. However, after Donald Trump assumed the presidency, it became apparent that I needed to run for at least one more term in the hopes that I could provide a check on his worst impulses,” Loebsack said.
“Currently, there are nearly two years remaining in this term and I look forward to playing an important role in the new House majority, not only to prevent further damage done by President Trump, but to also help set the stage for a new Democratic president to be inaugurated in January of 2021,” he added.