Winning the Unwinnable

I heard stories of my father being a feisty pitcher back in the day. He went on to become an Iowa High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame baseball coach for his time leading Mason City Newman and Nevada High Schools. In 1983, he was hired to be the head baseball coach at Morningside College (a small liberal arts school here in Sioux City, Iowa) where he went on to coach for almost thirty years. There are many things he has passed on to me throughout the years, but the two that helped me play professional baseball and are relevant to beating Steve King are fiery competitiveness and a strategic mind.

Being around sports my entire life, I understand what it takes to pull off an upset. It’s about preparation. It’s about using your strengths and exploiting your opponent’s weaknesses. It’s about how you react when you get punched in the face. It’s about having the heart and the mentality that you’re going to win regardless of what other people think. And it’s about luck. Not blind luck, but the type of luck Thomas Jefferson was describing in the paraphrased, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

That’s what we saw in Doug Jones and his campaign in Alabama. The last time that seat was up for election, the Democrats didn’t even field a candidate, and Jeff Sessions won with 97% of the vote. This year, the Democratic Party had a good candidate who ran a great campaign. He suffered a couple of blows but persevered, and put himself in a position to get lucky.

That’s also what we saw in the Iowa State Senate special election in my district last night. We had a great candidate in Todd Wendt. We witnessed the power of fired up Woodbury and Plymouth County Democrats. We saw what happens when you combine that passion with a well executed game plan. Although we ultimately didn’t win, it resulted in a 30 point shift from the 2016 presidential election. 

So where do we go from last night? In baseball, there’s an expression that “momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher.” Our campaign is putting itself in the position to defeat Steve King. A great example of that is Friday when Steve King tweeted that “Diversity is not our strength.” we seized that opportunity and gained 3,000 new followers on Twitter.

As I’ve said before, tell me this race is unwinnable, tell me Steve King is unbeatable, and that only adds fuel to my fire. And I will tell you that I have felt the energy and the buzz in this district and together we can make the seemingly impossible happen.

This campaign is about beating Steve King, but our movement is about much more than that. It’s about re-establishing the Democratic Party in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District by having a vision for this district and invoking the voice of the working class.

Join our movement, and together we’ll be celebrating once again in November!

Standing Tall for All,

J.D. Scholten

Hey Steve King, E Pluribus Unum!

You undoubtedly know of my opponent, Steve King. He’s been in Congress now since 2003. You might have seen him at the RNC Convention when he asked “what ‘sub-groups’ besides whites made contributions to civilization,” or remember that in July, he said we should take all the money that goes to Food Stamps and Planned Parenthood and put it into building a border wall with Mexico, or in March when former KKK leader David Duke praised King for tweeting, “We can’t restore our civilization with someone else’s babies.” You may have seen the pictures of a Confederate flag on his desk, despite the fact that over 75,000 Iowans fought for the Union in the Civil War. And the list goes on and on…

Yesterday, Steve King was at it again when he tweeted “diversity is not our strength.”What’s more anti-American than a statement like that? The concept of diversity and multiculturalism is not a partisan issue that just sprang up from the left. Diversity and the idea of the Great Melting Pot is what this country was founded on! King is so hyper focused on alt-right politics and spewing divisive vitriol that he has completely abandoned the people of our district. Diversity represents the best of America and is what truly makes this nation special. Steve King represents the worst of America. His divisive viewpoints are best left in our rear view mirrors, and that’s why I plan on taking his seat in November.

My campaign motto is “Standing Tall for All.” I happen to be 6’6”, but the motto isn’t really about my height. It’s about standing up and fighting for all of the people in my district and treating all people equally. It’s about fighting for the Native Americans who lived here first. It’s about fighting for the folks who are similar to me, whose ancestors came to Iowa to farm. It’s also about fighting for those folks who came from different backgrounds, but came here for the same reason that my ancestors did, the pursuit of the Great American Dream. It’s about fighting to ensure that every one of us—regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity—has an equal opportunity to achieve that same American Dream.

My background is in professional baseball. I never got to pick my teammates. It didn’t matter if my shortstop was from Texas, the Dominican Republic, or Delaware, we all worked our tails off for a common goal. Despite serving nearly 15 years in Congress, Steve King still hasn’t figured it out. The beauty of any good team is diversity, and diversity is what truly makes America great.

Professional Baseball Player Turns Congressional Candidate

DAILY TIMES HERALD – For J.D. Scholten, it doesn’t matter where he’s traveled or how tall he is. And he’s tall. What defines him are Iowa roots, the Democratic candidate for Congress in Iowa’s sweeping 4th District said in Carroll Wednesday night.

Standing 6 feet, 6 inches, Scholten, 37, is a fifth-generation Iowan and the first in his family, which has deep agricultural roots, to be born in an Iowa city — Ames.

Scholten once pitched for minor league professional baseball teams throughout Europe and the United States before he became a paralegal.

Then, after being upset at President Donald Trump’s election, a politically animated Scholten returned home to Iowa from Seattle and dedicated his life to politics.

Scholten held a meet-and-greet at Pizza Ranch in Carroll Wednesday to discuss what drove him to run for the Iowa 4th District seat.

Scholten’s family moved from Ames to Sioux City when he was 3 years old after his dad accepted the position as head baseball coach at Morningside College.

Scholten himself played Division II baseball for as long as he could at Morningside before transferring to a Division I school — University of Nebraska at Lincoln — to focus on pitching. He was a member of a Husker team that played in the College World Series in Omaha.

Scholten’s baseball career took him to Canada, Belgium, France and even Cuba, where he played professionally. He also played for the independent league team, the Sioux City Explorers.

“I played in Europe, and in between seasons I started building a career as a paralegal. That brought me up to Minneapolis and out to Seattle, so this time last year I was living in Seattle,” Scholten said.

After the 2016 election, Scholten grew disheartened and knew he wanted to come home and make a difference. He called his parents in Sioux City and said he was coming back. They told him, “We’re moving.” So, Scholten bought his childhood home from his parents and returned to Iowa to begin his campaign, he said.

Prior to giving the speech in Carroll and conducting an interview with The Daily Times Herald, Scholten walked up and down a meeting room at Pizza Ranch greeting audience members in gray New Balance sneakers and a flannel shirt. He nodded as he listened to concerns from about 20 voters on issues such as agriculture and the potential impact Trump’s proposed Mexican border wall may have on corn exports to a large U.S. grain customer. Many also talked with Scholten about health care, the GOP tax plan and the recent sexual-misconduct allegations — and admissions and apologies from some — that have roiled American politics.

When it comes to the recent version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed through the U.S. Senate, Scholten said it is horrible not only for America, but for middle-class Iowans.

“If your household makes $75,000 in Iowa, you’re taxed at 8.89 percent,” Scholten said. “In some of the higher-income places like New York and California, you have to make $1 million to get taxed at that high of a rate. So what this tax cut does is takes away the deduction of the state income tax, so you get double-taxed — you get taxed on the state and you get taxed on the federal. That’s going to hurt a lot of middle-class Iowans.”

Scholten used his baseball career as an analogy to explain why he is running for Congress.

He compared his teammates, whom he was not able to pick, to Democrats and Republicans. In baseball, the common goal was to win, Scholten said. That’s what Scholten wants Congress to get back to, he said.

“It didn’t matter if my shortstop was from the Dominican Republic, Texas or Delaware,” Scholten said.

Scholten’s No. 1 priority, if elected to represent 39 counties in Congress, is health care.

Scholten, a Catholic, is pro-choice on abortion and believes in convenient access to contraception.

“Therein lies the struggle being a Catholic — I have my personal views. There are some voters out there, we’re never going to agree on that. I have to accept that. Where I’m coming from is, I personally have a view on it, but then my political view is what I mentioned,” Scholten said.

He wants to see more sex education and access to contraception like Colorado’s free or low-cost access to birth control which, according to the Denver Post, reduced the teen abortion rate in Colorado by 64 percent in the past eight years.

When asked what he believes King, a veteran Republican with an electoral stranglehold on the district, has done to support rural Iowa, Scholten answered, “Who’s Steve King?” with a laugh.

“You look at ethanol — ethanol has done wonders for the 4th District,” Scholten said. “You look at him going down to Mexico and stirring the pot on the wall. Twenty-percent of our corn goes down to Mexico. They’re looking at other places. They’re looking at Argentina. That’s going to hurt our farmers.”

Scholten said King blindly signs whatever lobbyists push in front of him.

“If I was an eight-time incumbent, you would be darn sure I’m at the lead of the farm bill. He is not a leader in Congress. That’s really frustrating,” Scholten said.

Bigger picture where American politics in general are concerned, every day, new allegations pop up of elected officials and candidates being accused of sexual assault and harassment. When it comes to the recent allegations pressed on those political candidates and leaders, Scholten agrees investigations are necessary.

“It’s not a partisan issue,” Scholten said. “If you did these things, there should be consequences. And that’s what we are seeing on both sides of the aisle, I feel.”

He was not able to elaborate on any of the many accusations of President Trump harassing and assaulting women. But he said that both Trump and former President Bill Clinton should be investigated for their alleged actions.

“I am not charging (Trump) with anything because I don’t know any specifics or anything. I get my news from the paper like anyone else, so I’m not charging him with anything. There should be an investigation,” Scholten said.

Scholten voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Now he’s focused his full energies on 2018 and Democrats’ efforts to wrestle Congress from the Republicans and challenge a Trump agenda Scholten said is devastating for Iowa.

“Everything I have in my life I’m putting on this,” Scholten said. “Because I am so frustrated. This is everything I want to do, is beat Steve King so bad because again, he does not represent us.”

by ANNIE MEHL, Staff Writer

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