Scholten Makes First Ames Campaign Stop

By Clara Janzen Staff Writer |  Posted Jul 28, 2017 at 4:18 PM Ames Tribune

JD Scholten, who announced his candidacy for Iowa’s Fourth District congressional seat Tuesday, made his first Ames campaign stop of the season at London Underground Friday night.

Scholten, 37 and an Iowa native, played professional baseball after graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in world and American history, and recently moved back to Iowa from Seattle, where he has been working as a litigation paralegal.

“I’ve always had the intent of moving back, but my grandmothers passing in December really solidified that decision,” said Scholten.

To those who may voice concerns that he is out of touch with Iowa after not living here for awhile, he said he would argue no one is better geographically qualified to represent Iowa’s Fourth District.

“My dad is from Larchwood and my mom is from Lake Mills and they met in Mason City, and I was born in Ames and raised in Sioux City,” Scholten said. “If you look at a map, that’s basically the (Fourth District) quadrant.”

Scholten admits the road to running against incumbent Steve King will be difficult, but said he plans on travelling and working every day until the November 2018 mid-term election.

King was first elected to Congress in 2003 and is in his eighth term after defeating Democratic challenger Kim Weaver in November’s General Election. Weaver mounted a brief repeat challenge to King earlier this year before withdrawing, citing family medical concerns and threats made against her.

Repeated telephone messages left for King and members of his staff Friday were not returned.

When asked about his strengths that will help him in his campaign and in the potential position of congressman, Scholten said he feels as if he’s, “a bridge between different groups, I’m a fifth-generation Iowan, but the first generation in my family to be raised in the city.

“All of my extended family are small town farmers, so I can be a bridge between the rural and the urban,” he said.

This is Scholten’s first time running for public office, but he feels his work as a paralegal has prepared him for the challenges that lie ahead.

“A lot of the cases that I worked on involved fighting for the underdog, and that, I feel, is exactly like this,” he said. “I’m the underdog right now.”

Scholten specialized in electronic discovery and intellectual property law, helping small businesses in legal battles with large companies and helping people gain copyrights to their work, but he also helped on a lot of pro bono cases.

“Those cases were the most meaningful, like helping a political refugee get asylum, it reminded me just how lucky we are here in America,” he said.

One big challenge for anyone running against King is single issue voters, who may actually side with Democrats on a lot of issues except for one or two. Scholten said his views on immigration, one of the biggest hot button issues of the day, stems from concerns over the agricultural industry which impacts Iowans greatly.

“The biggest thing with immigration is that the Farm Bureau has come out and said they want immigration reform, because the way it is right now if we enhance enforcement it’s going to cost the agricultural industry $60 billion and we can’t afford that, let’s do the common sense thing and work towards reform.”

Another big issue Scholten will have to address in heavily rural Iowa is gun control, where hunting is popular and seen as necessary by many.

“I view it as multiple issues,” he said. “I think there is a solution where the hunters and farmers can continue to do what they do, but on the other hand to regulate it in bigger cities where the gun violence issues are occurring the most.”

When asked why he is better equipped to represent the Fourth District than King, Scholten said, “this campaign isn’t about Steve King.

“It’s about the people in this district that I know and love, I’ll prepare as best I can and I’ll give it the best I can, and at the end of the day I’ll accept the outcome.”

http://www.amestrib.com/news/20170728/scholten-makes-first-ames-campaign-stop

Iowa Baseball Player Reignites Fight to Unseat Racist Rep. Steve King

By Matthew Chapman  JULY 27, 2017  Shareblue Media

Democrats suffered a blow in their hopes to defeat notorious GOP Rep. Steve King, when their rising star Kim Weaver withdrew her candidacy after receiving harassment and death threats from King’s supporters.

Adding to the insult, King not only refused to condemn the threats — he accused Weaver of making them up.

But Democrats in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District are not giving up.

This week, J.D. Scholten, a paralegal and former independent league baseball player from Sioux City, announced he is mounting his own campaign against King.

A longtime Democratic activist who has volunteered on numerous campaigns, Scholten is in many ways picking up where Weaver left off. In fact, Weaver endorsed him, gave him her chief campaign strategist, and urged her supporters to donate to him.

Scholten is also carrying on many of Weaver’s campaign themes, including her calls to protect and expand health care for the poor and restore civility to politics, as articulated in his passionate email to former supporters of Weaver:

I’m running for Congress because the 4th District deserves someone who truly represents the people of this district. Like most Americans, I am sick and tired of how divisive politics in this country has become, and how divorced it is from people’s lives. I was raised to believe that hard work, civility, and community are the values we should all aspire to, and I’m committed to bringing the same values and a new energy to this campaign. The 4th needs a voice that cares more about building our district’s future than it does about dividing us apart.

And he wrote powerfully about “Iowa values” from a Democratic perspective, challenging the usual red state characterization:

Our government is supposed to work for the people that live in this district, not for special interests and the privileged elite. I want to put Iowa values back at the center of public service, create new opportunities for Iowa’s middle class, and ensure that Iowans never again need to worry about healthcare as a barrier to living free, productive, and successful lives.

Some right-wing voters in Iowa’s 4th District may have tried to drag politics into the gutter, as evidenced by the treatment of Weaver. But their voices are not the majority, and Democrats like Scholten refuse to let hate and division win the day.

Scholten’s candidacy is not only a chance for Democrats to articulate a better vision for the country. It is a chance to stop people like King from setting the tone, and to elevate the dignity of politics back to a level that will serve all Americans.

https://shareblue.com/iowa-baseball-player-reignites-fight-to-unseat-racist-rep-steve-king/

Iowa Starting Line: Sioux City Baseball Player J.D. Scholten Takes on Steve King – Our Profile

Iowa Starting Line

Sioux City Baseball Player J.D. Scholten Takes On Steve King – Our Profile

Democrats have a new challenger in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District to take on Steve King: J.D. Scholten, a professional baseball player and paralegal from Sioux City. He’s returning to Iowa after playing professional baseball around the country and world, launching his campaign today against the controversial congressman. Kim Weaver withdrew from the race in early June after running against King in 2016 – Weaver endorsed Scholten upon his announcement.

Scholten’s campaign will be a homecoming of sorts. A 5th generation Iowan, Scholten was born in Ames and his family moved from Nevada, Iowa to Sioux City when he was three. Scholten’s father was a baseball coach at Morningside College in Sioux City, which started the younger Scholten’s interest and career in the sport. His mother was a public health director. Early on his parents got him interested in political activism.

“Growing up, my parents dragged my sister and I around to all sorts of different cultural and political events,” Scholten told Starting Line. “I specifically remember my mother making me wear a ‘Bread Not Bombs’ t-shirt when we attended a protest in the 80s. My mother is a strong feminist who has worked a lot in prenatal care and as a Public Health Director. My father is quiet in general but has a huge heart for advocating for civil rights.”

One of his first major activism moments came in 2002 when Scholten got on a 20-hour bus ride to Washington, D.C. to protest the Iraq War.

After being a student-athlete at East High School in Sioux City and attending Morningside College and the University of Nebraska, Scholten entered into the professional baseball world. He didn’t make it to the majors, but he played four seasons for the Sioux City Explorers, and remains decently well-known in the 4th District’s largest city thanks to it. His career would also take him to Canada to play for the Saskatoon Legends, as well as to Europe for several teams there. During the off-season, Scholten started working as a paralegal, which included a case that helped a man from Cameroon who had been tortured by his government that was seeking political asylum in Minnesota.

But it was family concerns and his frustration with Steve King that has recently brought him back to Iowa.

“I’d always planned to come back to Iowa after my baseball career was over,” Scholten explained. “One of the last things my Grandma Fern said to me before she passed away in December was that I should move back to Iowa and take care of our family farm. During her funeral, at the rural church where she was an active member for most of her life, is when I felt Iowa pulling. Then, when my parents decided that they were going to sell my childhood home, that sealed the deal and I came home to buy it.”

As Scholten played around the world with teammates from many other states and countries, he got particularly frustrated with the bad reputation Iowa was getting due to his district’s congressman.

“I am a pretty calm guy but there are two things that get me riled up: one, embarrassing Iowa, or two, disrespecting Iowa,” he said. “Let’s just say that when the majority of my friends who aren’t from Iowa and don’t follow politics that closely know who the Iowa 4th Congressional District Representative is, something is wrong. As for number two, I still have bitter feelings towards the Stanford Band (from the 2016 Rose Bowl).”

As Democrats try to figure out how to finally knock off King, who has consistently won by mostly large margins in the deep-red Northwest Iowa district, Scholten hopes his personal background and professional experience in a field outside of politics can help him connect with voters.

“Sports, especially baseball, is a bridge,” he said. “It gives me something in common with different generations and people of different backgrounds … We’re all supposed to be on the same team – the United States of America – and our team isn’t what it used to be. But I am an optimist and I believe that we Democrats are at our best when we advance the civic values that our country was founded on: civil rights, equality, and opportunity. At the very least, maybe someone who won’t vote for me can still have a constructive conversation with me.”

While he has some recognition in Sioux City from his baseball days, he’s also got personal stories that can connect him with many communities throughout the 4th District.

“I am a product of this entire district,” he noted. “My dad is from Larchwood, my mother is from a farm outside of Lake Mills. They met in Mason City when they were high school teachers. They moved to Nevada and I was born in Mary Greeley hospital in Ames while my dad was a Volunteer Assistant Baseball coach at Iowa State. We moved to Sioux City when he got the head coaching job at Morningside College. If you look at the map of the 4th District, I have roots throughout the district. Additionally, through baseball or basketball, I’ve had teammates from virtually this entire district.”

Despite Democrats’ losing margins in past elections, Scholten is optimistic about his chances going into 2018. For one, he plans on significantly outworking King, joking that, “A testament to my work ethic is how long I played baseball on minimal talent.” King has always conducted little fundraising for his reelection campaigns and doesn’t campaign throughout the district anywhere near as much as fellow Iowa Republicans David Young and Rod Blum do.

But he also sees how his campaign could be part of a youth movement he’s noticing within Iowa Democratic politics. And he wants to translate that enthusiasm into conversations throughout the district that highlight how out of touch King has become with his own constituency.

“With youth comes energy, and I plan to excite the frustrated and the folks who are fed up with a representative that talks more about European issues or the Texas border, both of which are thousands of miles away, than he does about the needs of my beloved home district,” Scholten said.

The Democratic primary for the 4th District will be on June 5th. Scholten’s new website is here.

 

by Pat Rynard
Posted 7/25/17

https://iowastartingline.com/2017/07/25/sioux-city-baseball-star-j-d-scholten-takes-steve-king-profile/

Former Sioux City baseball player J.D. Scholten to run for Congress in Iowa’s 4th

Des Moines Register

A former independent-league baseball player from Sioux City will challenge U.S. Rep. Steve King in Iowa’s 4th District.

J.D. Scholten, a Democrat, announced his candidacy on Tuesday, pledging to rise above divisive politics and promote “hard work, civility and community.”

“I want to put Iowa values back at the center of public service, create new opportunities for Iowa’s middle class, and ensure that Iowans never again need to worry about healthcare as a barrier to living free, productive, and successful lives,” he said in a statement.

Scholten, 37, was a baseball player at Morningside College and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and later played for the semi-pro Sioux City Explorers, among other teams. Between seasons and since retiring from baseball, he’s worked as a paralegal.

He’s running in Iowa’s most heavily Republican congressional district against King, an eight-term incumbent Republican known for strident and controversial remarks on immigration and race.

Scholten’s comments regarding civility are clearly meant to draw a contrast with King, who has suggested, among other controversy-courting statements, that Muslim immigration into western countries amounts to “cultural suicide.”

Scholten received immediate support on Tuesday from Kim Weaver, the Democratic nominee in the district in 2016 who announced a 2018 candidacy earlier this year but then withdrew.

Weaver endorsed Scholten in an email to her supporters and asked them to contribute to his campaign. She’s also sitting on almost $136,000 in campaign funds, which she has said she wants to use to support a challenger to King.

A top aide from Weaver’s campaign is now Scholten’s political director.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2017/07/25/former-sioux-city-baseball-player-j-d-scholten-run-congress-iowas-4th/509819001/

Sioux City Democrat J.D. Scholten Announces Candidacy for U.S. House Seat Against Steve King

PRESS RELEASE

SIOUX CITY, IA – Sioux City Democrat J.D. Scholten formally announced his bid today to run against incumbent Steve King for the U.S. House seat in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. Scholten said about his decision to enter the race:

I’m running for Congress because the 4th District deserves someone who truly represents the people of this district. Like most Americans, I am sick and tired of how divisive politics in this country has become, and how divorced it is from people’s lives. I was raised to believe that hard work, civility, and community are the values we should all aspire to, and I’m committed to bringing the same values and a new energy to this campaign. The 4th needs a voice that cares more about building our district’s future than it does about dividing us apart.

It’s going to take a unified effort to defeat Steve King and restore the voice of the people — our government is supposed to work for the people that live in this district, not for special interests and the privileged elite. I want to put Iowa values back at the center of public service, create new opportunities for Iowa’s middle class, and ensure that Iowans never again need to worry about healthcare as a barrier to living free, productive, and successful lives.

I look forward to being on the campaign trail everyday, meeting voters, listening to their concerns, and earning their support.

J.D. Scholten, a 5th generation Iowan, was born in Ames and raised in Sioux City. He played baseball for Morningside College and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he graduated with a degree in World/American History, with a minor in Film Studies. After graduating, J.D. pursued a baseball career that allowed him to play in seven different countries. Between baseball seasons, J.D. began a career as a litigation paralegal, specializing in eDiscovery, Intellectual Property law and trials—a career that taught him the ins-and-outs of the law, good governance, and how to fight for people’s rights. He currently works as a freelance paralegal and technical consultant. J.D. is a lifelong Democrat who protested the Iraq war and has volunteered on local, state, and national campaigns.

J.D.’s full bio can be found on his campaign website HERE. Team Scholten will be releasing an official campaign kickoff video and announcing a kickoff event in the coming days.