Chelgren challenging Loebsack in 2nd district


State Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Alex Hanson

State Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, has announced he will challenge six-term U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack for his seat in Congress next year.

“Our political leadership is on a dangerous and destructive path,” Chelgren said in a news release.

“However, the strength and beauty of our political system is that we do not have to close our eyes and hope for the best,” he added. “In America, when the politicians chart a course over the nearest cliff, the people can grab the wheel and avert disaster. I am an ordinary citizen, just like you.”

Chelgren has served in the state legislature since 2011, representing District 41, which includes Ottumwa and Fairfield in southeast Iowa.

Nick Clarkson, Loebsack’s campaign manger, released a statement saying Loebsack welcomes Chelgren to the race.

“With the election more than a year away, Dave is currently focused on doing the job the people of Iowa sent him to do,” Clarkson said. “He will continue his fight to create jobs here at home, protect Social Security and Medicare, and stand up to those in Washington who are more concerned with partisan bickering than actually getting something done for Iowa’s seniors, families and those who are less fortunate.”

So far, Chelgren is the only Republican to declare he’s running. The primary election will be held in June, with the general election scheduled for November 2016.