Iowa Rep. Todd Prichard, an Iraq War veteran and rural lawyer, will announce his candidacy for governor Tuesday in Charles City, saying he intends to fight for economic prosperity for all and appeal to places in the state that have not always been hospitable to Democrats.
Prichard, who was elected to the legislature in 2013, will join a growing field of Democrats seeking their party's nomination.
The 42-year-old Prichard, who grew up in Davenport, has been exploring a campaign for weeks, and after his announcement he plans to embark on a tour through the state. "I love Iowa and I'm concerned about the direction that the state has taken over the last few years under the Branstad administration and during my time in the legislature," he told the Quad-City Times on Monday. "I know that we can do better. We've left a lot of Iowans behind."
He said working for higher wages and an expanding middle class will guide his efforts.
Prichard said he would focus on improving educational opportunities in the state, including a state program to pay for community college costs that aren't covered by other financial assistance programs. He also says he would push for a higher minimum wage and redirect state incentives to parts of the state he says haven't received enough. He cited an $18 million state incentive to help move a corporate headquarters two years ago from West Des Moines to Des Moines. "We're not investing resources into the rest of Iowa, he said.
Even with 13 months to go before the primary, the Democratic field is growing. Former Iowa Democratic Party Chair Andy McGuire, former Iowa DNR Director Rich Leopold, Sen. Nate Boulton and former Des Moines School Board President Jon Neiderbach have all launched campaigns.
John Norris, who was a top aide to former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, and Des Moines businessman Fred Hubbell also are considering running. There are others said to be thinking about it, too.
Prichard hopes to set himself from the others with his military record and his rural background. "I'm not from Polk County," he says. Others in the race all hail from the Des Moines area.
Prichard says that his upbringing and familiarity with the west side of Davenport and Charles City (which has a population of about 7,500 people) give him a broad understanding of Iowa others will find hard to match.
Politically, that could be helpful to Democrats. The party has acknowledged it needs to do better in rural parts of the state.
Prichard is married with three children. He won the House seat in a special election in 2013 after the previous officeholder, also a Democrat, resigned to take another job. He is the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee.