Scott County Supervisor Ken Croken was sworn in by 7th Judicial District Chief Judge Marlita Greve during the Scott County Board of Supervisors meeting at the Scott County Administrative Center on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019.

Scott County Supervisor Ken Croken has chosen not seek Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District seat, saying he views an inter-party challenge against former Iowa Sen. Rita Hart as a “distraction” that will “serve no worthwhile purpose.”

Croken, who was elected to his current position on the Scott County board in November, has been mulling a run for Congress for about a month. Sitting U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack has represented the 24-county southeastern Iowa congressional district since 2006, and is not seeking reelection.

“It is critical that Democrats retain this seat and I believe that former Iowa State Senator Hart is uniquely well qualified to do so,” Croken said in a statement. “While I am very appreciative of the encouragement and support I have received, I now believe that the distraction of a party primary will serve no worthwhile purpose.”

An additional factor in his decision is his wife’s recent breast cancer diagnosis, Croken said, adding that his “first priority now is to my wife as she undergoes treatment and to support our children and extended family through this difficult time.”

Croken’s decision not to run narrows the field of Democratic candidates to Hart, who kicked off her campaign a few weeks ago. Hart, a former state senator who ran for lieutenant governor last year, has already secured major endorsements from dozens of prominent Iowa Democrats, including Loebsack.

Meanwhile, Republicans plan to go out in full force to win the district in the November 2020 election. Loebsack’s seat is one of dozens targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee, the congressional campaign arm of the Republican Party.

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