VAN METER, Iowa — Newly elected GOP Rep. David Young vowed to work across party lines to address the nation’s problems following his victory over Democratic opponent Staci Appel.
“I’m very honored to be the next congressman here in the 3rd District,” Young said. “I want you to know I take this awesome responsibility very seriously ... and I will exercise good judgment every day.”
Young, 46, is the former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
The 3rd District includes Council Bluffs, most of rural southwest Iowa and Des Moines. Appel and Young ran to fill the seat held by U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, a Republican who is retiring after 20 years.
Young had 52 percent of the vote to Appel’s 42 percent, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office.
Young had kind words for his opponent in his victory speech.
“I admire her greatly, and I know that she loves her country,” he said.
Speaking to Appel’s supporters, Young said he wants them to know that he will listen to them.
Neither candidate was widely known across the 3rd District. Appel, 48, is a former state senator and financial consultant from Ackworth.
Young returned to Iowa in 2013 initially to run for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Tom Harkin, who is retiring. After Latham announced that he, too, would retire, Young switched to the 3rd District race.
Young, who spent seven years working for Grassley, has campaigned for a balanced budget amendment, tougher immigration laws and repeal of the Affordable Care Act. He said he’s committed to listening to Iowans’ concerns, something he often did in his work for Grassley.
The 3rd District race was relatively quiet for much of the summer. It gained steam in early September after the candidates’ first televised debate, when Appel and Young differed on whether they would “urge” the State Department to revoke passports of Americans with ties to terrorist groups.
Young said he would push for that. But Appel said she “would not be urging taking away their passports.”
Appel later said she supported passport revocation but that the decisions should be left to the State Department. She also said that she could have been clearer about what she meant.
Republicans pounced on her statement — airing attack ads, issuing numerous campaign barbs and drawing attention to the race.
Young had to go on the defense, as well. Appel and national Democrats criticized Young’s Washington career, saying it made him an out-of-touch insider who wants to slash education funding for student loans and special-education programs while giving tax breaks to rich friends.
Latham and Grassley both attended Young’s victory party at the Van Meter American Legion post. Grassley introduced his former chief of staff.
“Bob Feller put Van Meter on the baseball map,” Grassley said, referencing the Cleveland Indians pitcher and Van Meter native. “We’ve got a man tonight who will put Van Meter on the political map.”
In Iowa’s 4th District, incumbent Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, fought off Democrat Jim Mowrer of Boone. The district covers 39 counties that include the cities of Sioux City, Missouri Valley and Carroll. Mowrer, a combat veteran, outraised King, but the longtime congressman and conservative firebrand stayed consistently ahead in the polls.
King’s far-right style has appealed to Iowans in the most Republican congressional district in the state. Nearly 38 percent of voters in the 4th District are registered Republicans, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office. Some 36 percent are independents, and 26 percent are registered Democrats.
Mowrer said he hoped to continue serving his country. After serving in Iraq with the Iowa National Guard’s 1-133rd Infantry, he worked as a civilian in Iraq and at the Pentagon.
“It’s a very difficult evening for Democrats in Iowa and across the country,” he said. “Hopefully, Congress takes the opportunity in the next few years to get something done.”