Spencer Daily Reporter: Scholten returns to Spencer with drive-in rally

Democratic candidate for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District J.D. Scholten returned once more to the city of Spencer as he continues to meet voters on the campaign trail ahead of the upcoming general election. Scholten addressed voters with a drive-in rally in the Southpark Mall parking lot on Saturday evening, being broadcast into the vehicles parked around the Democratic candidate. Scholten outlined his five campaign promises: Iowans over political party, showing up for the 4th District, fix health care, fight for an economy that works for everyone and secure our democracy from special interests; which were printed on the back of baseball cards given to supporters.

Democratic candidate for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District J.D. Scholten returned to Spencer on Saturday, parking Sioux City Sue outside Southpark Mall for a drive-in rally. Scholten spoke to the audience through their car radios and took questions virtually while also gauging answers with honks through the event.

“When it comes to health care, almost every stop where we’ve had a dialogue, every town hall, farm forum, almost everything reverts back to health care is the No. 1 issue,” Scholten said. “… It’s overwhelming how many health care stories there are just from this district alone. I want talk about two, one is a mentor of mine. He’s a successful attorney, I was working as a paralegal, he took me under his wing. Last fall he was diagnosed with cancer. After four months of going through chemo and fighting, what happened was his insurance company called him and said ‘your doctor is no longer in your network.’ At a time when he’s fighting for his life he has to switch doctors and it’s inhumane. We need a better system. … Last year in Hardin County a woman told us she needs an inhaler and her doctor prescribes a 30-day prescription. After 30 days she needs a new one so it was costing her $244 a month. She told her doctor, ‘doc I can’t afford that anymore, so the doctor goes ‘well here’s one that’s cheaper but it’s less puffs.’ After a few more months she’s like again, ‘this is too expensive.’ Finally the doctor told her, ‘just go up to Canada.’ That’s where we’re at. We are the wealthiest nation in the world and we have a system where we tell people ‘go up to Canada to get your prescription drugs’ and that’s wrong.

He continued, “I want to fight for universal health care. I want to continue to fight, what the next logical step seems to be is a robust public option. And I’m for that but we need to continue on until we have absolute universal health care. And we need to make sure we protect preexisting conditions, we need to make sure Medicare and Social Security things that are being threatened right now, not only do we protect them but we expand them. We need to make sure prescription drugs are available and you don’t have to go bankrupt just to stay healthy. All these things add up.”

Fielding questions from the audience, Scholten was asked if he expected a debate with his competition for the 4th District seat, state Sen. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull. Scholten said his campaign has said yes to “any place, any time.”

“We have said yes to every single debate,” Scholten said. “There was a forum here early on, with me, Senator Feenstra and Sen. Joni Ernst, but a forum is not a debate. We’ve said yes to every single debate where we can actually talk about issues and question each other on issues, and have that dialogue back and forth. The problem is they have said no officially to three debates including KTIV’s. … They also have not responded to the majority of the ones being offered.

He added, “It is way different than last cycle in the sense that last cycle we had a 16-year incumbent who didn’t think he was much in a challenge, but we showed him wrong. This is a race that’s neck and neck. The polls are showing that. … This is, we absolutely need to have a debate, this is democracy.”

During the question and answer session Scholten also touched on criminal justice reform, to which the candidate said subjects like mandatory minimums and cash bail are things that need to be talked about more.

“The other thing I think we should talk more and more about is private prisons,” Scholten said. “We should not have a prison system that incentivize keeping people in for profits.”

Scholten ended the drive-in rally by telling the audience of his excitement for the 4th District race, which was answered by the blaring sound of honks of support from the more than three dozen vehicles parked around the candidate and his RV, Sioux City Sue.

J.D. Scholten speaks to Cheri Shatto following his event Saturday.

“This race is going to come down to the wire,” Scholten said. “… We are in a special spot and everything, we’re right where we need to be.”

Carroll Times Herald: Nation needs more working-class members of Congress, Scholten says

Democratic congressional candidate J.D. Scholten campaigns in Carroll Monday night as part of a swing through west-central Iowa. He spoke to voters in about 30 cars at a “drive-in” campaign event.

J.D. Scholten bounded on to the trailer of a pickup truck parked in front of his rickety RV and Carroll’s Merchants Stadium for a fiery populist speech, one that seemed to jump from an earlier era in Iowa as the congressional candidate made a relentless case for the working people he thinks society is leaving behind.

“We don’t have enough working-class people in Washington, and that’s one of the big reasons I’m running,” Scholten said as day turned to night under colorful fall skies.

Scholten, a Sioux City Democrat, stopped in Carroll Monday night as part of a major swing through the region. He made five stops in Greene County, hit Coon Rapids and spoke in Denison in recent days. The events are part of a 375-town tour of the 39-county 4th Congressional District.

Scholten said he is campaigning in all counties for a reason.

“So much in DC is just butting heads against the other side,” Scholten said. “I’ll always show up.”

About 30 cars ringed Scholten’s truck and RV — which he’s named Sioux City Sue — in Carroll for a “drive-in” campaign speech, one Scholten broadcast into voters’ vehicle radios.

The No. 1 topic Scholten hears about from voters: health care.

He supports getting to universal coverage with a public option as something of a temporary weigh station. The public option is a government plan that competes with private insurance coverage, giving consumers more choice and, Scholten believes, driving costs down. He’s also making a case for better “dental and mental” health-care coverage.

“If we are the wealthiest nation is the world, then let’s show it by how great our health-care system is,” Scholten said.

Alcohol and drug addiction are becoming more worrisome as people struggle in often-desperate rural economies, he said.

“The haves have gotten a lot richer, and the rest of us have struggled,” Scholten said.

He added, “Most of rural America has not bounced back from 2008, let alone what is happening now.”

Scholten blasted a tax system that allows large companies like Amazon to pay little or no taxes.

“I don’t even know if I know a lobbyist, but I sure know a hell know of a lot of you guys,” he said in Carroll.

Scholten sees the United States as being in a global economic and power showdown with China. It will take the full country, operating with success, to compete, he said.

“It can’t just be Silicon Valley versus China,” Scholten said.

Sioux City Journal: 6 weeks to election, Scholten, Feenstra aiming for finish line in Iowa’s 4th District

SIOUX CITY — Six weeks from now, the outcome of the Iowa 4th Congressional District contest will be revealed, with Nov. 3 voting determining whether Randy Feenstra will seize the win and continue the Republican Party hold on the seat or if J.D. Scholten pulls off the upset that narrowly eluded him in 2018.

At this point two years ago, campaign donations were flowing in large fashion to Scholten. A lot of people were motivated down the stretch to oust incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, after a flurry of questions about his support for far-right political parties and candidates.

Scholten is again the Democratic nominee in the 4th District, but King is out of the race, following his defeat by nearly 10 percent by Feenstra in a June primary election. Feenstra got a congratulatory phone call from President Donald Trump.

That primary win immediately moved many political prognosticators to predict a solid Feenstra victory in the fall. An Iowa Poll by The Des Moines Register over the weekend put Feenstra’s lead at 5 percentage points, and, for comparison, Scholten’s narrow loss to King was by 3 points.

“A lot of people wrote us off in early summer. We just put our head down,” said Scholten, who is bullish on his chances over the next 42 days.

“We are right where we need to be … Our internal poll showed we are doing even better than what the Des Moines Register poll showed,” he said.

Scholten said he believes he can win because “this district has a lot of independent thinkers.”

There are more independents than Democrats, as voting registration in the 4th District in September shows 203,921 Republicans, 128,750 Democrats and 153,416 no party, making for a big advantage for Feenstra. Feenstra said being a Republican in the 4th District is certainly an advantage, but he isn’t taking that for granted.

“We are trying to motivate the base. We are playing like we are 10 points behind,” he said.

Feenstra pointed to a Monmouth University Polling Institute measure, which in early August released a poll showing him with a 20-point lead.

King had never lost a race in his 24-year political career, until Feenstra, a state senator from Hull, won in the five-candidate primary. In a Journal interview on Friday, King said he would not endorse Feenstra, saying it was best not to comment on his campaign.

Said Feenstra, “I would appreciate it if he would endorse me … I guess it is up to him … We just want all the Republicans marching in the same direction.”

Earlier this year, spread of the novel coronavirus resulted in a halt to in-person campaigning, but some of that has resumed in recent weeks. Scholten has been holding “parking lot rallies,” where he stands on a flat-bed truck, his comments are broadcast via radio frequency to people parked at the event, and they can send text messages to pose questions. That’s part of his swing to visit all 374 towns in 39 counties, and, after one Tuesday in Jefferson, Iowa, Scholten said that quest will be done by early October.

Scholten said key issues he’s seeing connect with the pandemic, as people are worried about maintaining health insurance and hearing Republican plans to reduce Medicare and Medicaid programs. He also said farmers are uneasy after seven years of low commodity prices and tariffs that Trump put in place.

Feenstra spoke after touring a biodiesel plant in Wall Lake, Iowa. He said he’s visiting businesses using social distancing precautions and wearing masks. Some of the monthly county Republican Party organizations have resumed meetings in person, while many still only do them via video conferencing.

Feenstra said top issues are boosting agricultural opportunities and the prospects of small businesses, some of which have not reopened since the coronavirus brunt hit. He said it is imperative that pro-life policies are pursued.

“People are looking for somebody who can deliver or be a voice for them,” Feenstra said.

It is currently uncertain whether an opportunity for Iowans to see the two men hash over issues side by side, as of now there are no set debates. Scholten said his approach is “any time, any place,” and that a debate is needed, since people know Feenstra far less than they do King, after his 18 years in office.

For his part, Feenstra said there are some October media debate options, and he may agree to some: “We are looking at other arrangements.”

There won’t be a release of campaign fundraising until mid-October, for a quarterly summary for the months of July through September. 

This year, Scholten has led all Iowa 4th candidates in fundraising, such as when he raised $619,849 for the second quarter through the month of June. Feenstra brought in $403,817 over that same time. Combined over the 2020 cycle, Scholten has raised $1.65 million, while Feenstra has had $1.25 million in contributions.

Scholten said his third quarter fundraising number will surpass that of the second quarter, and said people who believe his 2020 funding will pale compared to 2018 are misguided.

A December 2018 fundraising report showed Scholten raised more than $1.5 million from Oct. 19 to Nov. 26, just before and after the election day showdown with King.

Feenstra said Scholten may not nab the top amount of fundraising of the 2018 final stretch, since “the dynamics have changed significantly over the last two years.” As for his fundraising, Feenstra said, “We are looking at a very strong quarter again … We are trying to get as much in-state money as possible.”


The Democratic candidate for Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District finished up his campaign stops to all of the towns in Greene County Tuesday.

J.D. Scholten continued on his “Every Town Tour” with stops in Churdan, Paton, Rippey and then a “Drive-In” event in Jefferson Tuesday evening at the former Greene County Middle School parking lot. His goal is to make a campaign stop in all 374 towns in the district ahead of the November general election. Scholten describes the inspiration behind his current tour.

J.D. Scholten speaking in Churdan

“I didn’t hire pollsters to tell me what I should be talking about on the campaign trail, or a consultant, or anything like that, I showed up. If you continually show up, you learn the heartbeat, and the things that are happening in each county, and the needs. It’s not about just staying home in Sioux City, and just fundraising, fundraising, fundraising, and then try to win on television. Grassroots gets thrown around alot these days, but we personify what it means to be a grassroots campaign.”

Scholten also visited Cooper, Dana, Scranton and Grand Junction on Sunday as part of the “Every Town Tour.” Scholten is facing off against Republican challenger Randy Feenstra.

Storm Lake Times: Scholten is a contender

Most surprising in the Iowa Poll released by The Des Moines Register on Saturday was the revelation that Democrat JD Scholten trails Republican Randy Feenstra 49-44% in the Fourth Congressional District. Last summer, a generic Republican led a generic Democrat for that House seat by 22 points.

Scholten came within three percentage points of beating Rep. Steve King in 2018. He has worked non-stop ever since, visiting every little burg in the 39 counties of Northwest Iowa in his motorhome Sioux City Sue. Scholten has campaigned in Storm Lake countless times, most recently drawing a large crowd for one of his parking lot rallies. He had 24 people out to hear him in tiny Cooper, down near Jefferson, last weekend.

He has been making friends wherever he goes — it’s hard not to like the former semi-pro pitcher and paralegal — and that adds up. He speaks to disgruntled Republican farmers who know they’ve been getting locked out of markets and squeezed in every direction by companies with too much power and influence. He appeals to small-town folks worried about losing their grocery stores against Dollar General. He quotes the Bible. He is for universal health care and Social Security and a compassionate immigration system that works.

Feenstra is for everything Steve King and Donald Trump are for. He refuses to debate Scholten. He has not campaigned in Storm Lake. He is betting that Sioux, O’Brien and Lyon counties will do the trick. Meantime, Scholten is raising more funds and making more friends in Sioux County and Palo Alto. He is connecting in Ames, Sioux City, Fort Dodge and Mason City. Scholten should win Storm Lake, as he did last time.

Republicans thought all they had to do was get rid of Steve King and they would be rid of Scholten. Not so fast. This is a contest.


North Iowa Today: Democrat J.D. Scholten demands televised debate with opponent Randy Feenstra in race for Iowa’s fourth district seat in Congress

Following the release of a Des Moines Register poll, showing the congressional race for Iowa’s 4th district within 5 points and within the margin of error, J.D. Scholten reaffirmed that the people of Iowa’s 4th district deserve a publicly televised debate.

J.D. Scholten said: “We believe that how you run a campaign shows how you’ll hold public office. That’s why since Day 1, we’ve been accessible and accountable to the people and worked to bring people from across the political spectrum into our grassroots campaign. In the fall, we held town halls in towns of under 1,000 people on the Don’t Forget About Us Tour to listen to and learn from folks that live in places that are often ignored by federal candidates and federal investment. Right now, we’re going to every single incorporated town in Iowa’s 4th district — all 374 towns — and holding events from parking lot rallies to stopping into grain elevators to conversations on farms and tours of small businesses. We listen to everyone, even folks who don’t agree with me, and have an open door policy for questions. That’s what this district deserves: real representation, service, and accountability.

“Our district has already suffered from failed representation in Congress for nearly two decades; we cannot continue that trend and elect someone who hides from accountability, public debate, and scrutiny. We’ve said yes to every debate this cycle. Our opponent, on the other hand, has declined. This poll is even stronger proof that the people of Iowa’s 4th district deserve to compare and contrast the candidates who are asking to serve them in Congress. It’s really the least you can do.”

Scholten’s opponent is Randy Feenstra, who defeated Steve King in a primary earlier this year.

NW Iowa Review: Letter: Scholten cares for rural Iowa citizens

The recent news that J.D. Scholten accepted an invitation from KTIV for a debate and Randy Feenstra declined the invitation, reminded me of a guest commentary letter written three weeks ago by District 1 Sen. Zach Whiting and House District 2 Rep. Megan Jones.

The commentary makes claims that Theresa Greenfield doesn’t care about rural Iowa, since she declined to participate in the forum hosted by the Spencer Daily Reporter, Spencer Radio Group and Spencer Municipal Utilities. What’s interesting is, Sen. Whiting worked for Congressman Steve King, who was notorious for saying no to events that included his opponent.

One must be led to think that both Sen. Whiting and Rep. Jones now believe that Randy Feenstra doesn’t care about rural Iowans as he will not participate in a debate that reaches a large number of the rural communities in Iowa Congressional District 4.

I’ll admit I’m a little biased, as I ran against Rep. Jones in 2018 and I’m the former chair of the Clay County Democrats before a recent move to Hinton. I personally believe the only reason Sen. Joni Ernst attended the forum was because the Republican Party doesn’t trust Randy Feenstra one-on-one with J.D. Scholten. This may also explain why he declined the invitation by KTIV.

When it comes down to it, what does it mean to care about rural Iowans? If going to each county in the district a minimum of three times in 2018 means caring for rural Iowans, then vote for J.D. Scholten. If going to each of the 370-plus communities in the district means caring for rural Iowans, then vote for J.D. Scholten. If saying no to the national party in favor of your district means caring for rural Iowans, then vote for J.D. Scholten.

In closing I’d like to use the last sentence from Rep. Jones and Sen. Whiting’s commentary, but change up the political office, name and surnames.

We need a relentless fighter for rural Iowa in Congress. Feenstra’s decision to ignore rural Iowa illustrates that he’ll continue his pattern of empty rhetoric and dishonesty. Did I mention, vote for J.D. Scholten?

Ryan Odor,


Scholten holds parking lot rally in Fort Dodge

Says he wants more than a raised minimum wage for the 4th District

J.D. Scholten, Democratic candidate for Iowa’s 4th U.S. Congressional District, held a “drive-in” campaign rally in the Fort Frenzy parking lot on Sunday afternoon. Scholten is running against Republican candidate Randy Feenstra.

Halfway through his “Every Town Tour,” congressional candidate J.D. Scholten stopped in Fort Dodge on Sunday afternoon to talk with potential voters about revitalizing rural economies and reforming the health care industry.

Scholten, a Democrat from Sioux City, is running against Republican candidate Randy Feenstra, of Hull, for Iowa’s 4th U.S. Congressional District seat.

Scholten’s “drive-in” parking lot rally drew in about three dozen cars at Fort Frenzy on Sunday afternoon. Supporters stayed in their cars and tuned into a radio station, which carried the broadcast of Scholten’s event. Standing in the back of a pickup, the candidate gave his stump speech and answered several questions sent in by attendees via text message.

Scholten was asked how Congress can help towns like Fort Dodge grow.

“This is one of the reasons I’m running for Congress,” he answered. “I see towns like Sioux City, like Fort Dodge, like Mason City, that have so much potential. The biggest thing is we’ve got to get some of the smaller communities around thriving as well.”

Charles Clayton, Democratic candidate for Iowa House of Representatives District 9, introduces J.D. Scholten, Democratic candidate for Iowa’s 4th U.S. Congressional District, during a parking lot rally at Fort Frenzy on Sunday afternoon.

Embracing new technology, especially in the agriculture industry, is necessary for the “next wave” of Iowa’s economy, Scholten said.

“We need to make sure we have the infrastructure in place to allow that to take off the way that it can and it should,” he said. “I have a vision of this district being the epicenter of 21st century-resilient agriculture. And in doing so, that is going to start a rural revitalization that is going to influence towns like Fort Dodge, heavily.”

A key facet to the Democratic Party platform for several years has been raising the minimum wage. While that’s a “great” goal, Scholten said, he wants more for the 4th District.

“I want to create 60-, 70- and 80-thousand-dollar jobs,” he said. “Those are game changers.”

Instead of the district’s young workers having to move to the Des Moines metro or the Omaha area to find high-paying jobs, they’ll be able to stay closer to home.

Julie Geopfert, chair of the Webster County Democratic Party, listens to candidate J.D. Scholten, a Sioux City-native running for Iowa’s 4th U.S. Congressional District, during a parking lot rally outside Fort Frenzy on Sunday afternoon.

“The reality is, the majority of the economies in this district are going in the wrong direction and it’s tough to see these towns that have seen better days, where they’re at now — it’s like, what can we do?” Scholten told The Messenger. “And if we continue to elect the status quo, that’s too many career politicians who have sold out the American farmer, the American worker.”

The backbone of the 4th Congressional District is small business and agriculture, Scholten said, and “we’ve got to make sure that both entities are going in the right direction.”

One of Scholten’s priorities on the campaign trail is the promise to fix the health care system.

“We are the wealthiest nation in the world and if you look at health care in what we prioritize, you wouldn’t know it,” he said. “We pay the most per person out of any country in the world, yet we’re not getting a very good bang for our buck.”

The candidate recalled the countless gas stations he’s stopped at during his tour of the 374 incorporated towns and cities in the fourth district, and the majority that had some sort of donation box at the register, often for a community member battling some kind of health crisis. He asked voters to think about the GoFundMe campaigns and pancake breakfast benefits, raising funds for medical expenses.

“My goal is universal health care and it’s going to take several steps to get there, but I will continue to fight until we have absolute universal health care,” Scholten said as a chorus of car horns honked in agreement.

He said the next step is a “robust public option,” protecting preexisting conditions and making sure prescription drugs are affordable.

Scholten also talked about his campaign promise to “secure our democracy from special interests” that flood campaigns with election funds in exchange for favor on Captiol Hill.

“We don’t get where we need to go unless we get money out of politics,” he said.

Scholten said there’s a problem with elected members of Congress having to turn around and start fundraising for the next election as soon as the previous election is over.

“That doesn’t incentivize things getting done in Washington,” he said.

Scholten has vowed to not accept any corporate political action committee contributions, nor accept any money from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Carroll Daily Times Herald: Scholten: Have a plan for voting

Democratic congressional candidate J.D. Scholten campaigned recently in Carroll.

Iowa Democratic congressional candidate J.D. Scholten urges all voters to “have a plan” for casting their ballots amid the COVID-19 pandemic and heated rhetoric about the integrity of the election.

“There’s just so much uncertainty,” Scholten said. “A lot of people are asking about voting and whether absentee ballots are going to be the right way to go or whatever. So what we say is, have a plan.”

Scholten said he plans to go the Woodbury County Auditor’s Office in Sioux City, his hometown, and vote a week before the Nov. 3 election.

“There are less lines when you go early, but each county is different,” Scholten said.

Scholten said voters should not follow what he says is President Trump’s illegal advice of voting absentee and then showing up to vote on Election Day.

“What the president has suggested is a felony, and nobody should be voting twice,” Scholten said. “Our campaign is actively telling our supporters to have a plan, and we will work with you on the plan, whereas what we hearing from the Trump campaign — for him to say ‘Vote twice’ is against the law.”

Scholten stopped recently in Carroll in the Hy-Vee parking lot as part of a 375-town tour of the sweeping 39-county 4th Congressional District. The tour started in mid-August and will run through early October.

Scholten said it makes sense to check with county auditors’ offices to make sure they have received absentee ballot requests and then to follow up with a phone call to make certain the ballot has been received. Auditors’ offices track such information.

“That’s where we are at right now,” Scholten said. “It’s not the best way, but this is the way we have to do it in the time of a pandemic. I’m going to be voting in person a week early because I know that’s the best way for myself. If you are healthy enough, I would consider doing something like that. If you’re going to vote by mail, I would make sure you do everything you can to make sure your ballot was counted.”

In Wilmington, North Carolina, earlier this month, Trump suggested people who vote by mail also “then go and vote” in person as well.

“They are going to have to check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way because if it tabulates, then they won’t be able to do that,” Trump said. “So let them send it in, and let them go vote. And if their system is as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they will be able to vote.”

Facebook removed video shares of Trump’s comments, with the social media giant saying the comment urged illegal behavior.

Scholten faces Republican State Sen. Randy Feenstra of Hull in the November general election. Feenstra defeated sitting Congressman Steve King in the June GOP primary.


This pandemic is changing the way we do nearly everything.  Political campaigns have had to adjust too.

J.D. Scholten is embracing social distancing in his campaign, holding a rally that resembled a drive-in movie.

The clapping and cheers of political allies were replaced by the honking of horns.  Scholten’s stump speech was broadcasted over FM radio.

Michael Roddy, who attended the rally, said he’s a bit skeptical about this drive-in campaign.

“I’m not sure how successful it’s going to be. I think it’s very hard to communicate in this kind of a situation and I hope it will work,” said Roddy.

He’s not sure sitting in one’s car will create an electrified audience the way a rally can.

“I like rallies where the people get up and talk and you can yell and holler and cheer and I miss that,” he said.

The former minor league player turned candidate J.D. Scholten told KIMT News 3 where his inspiration for a drive-in event came from.

“I got the idea from going to church and my local church went to a parking lot ceremony and so I got the idea and if they can do that I wonder if we can do this? You know, we’ve been getting good reception everywhere we’ve been going,” said Scholten.

Supporter Carol Iverson is just fine sitting in the comfort of her car to support the man she wants to represent her in Washington D.C.

“We’re fine with it. We’re J.D. supporters from two years ago and, you know, whatever it takes to support him.”

Folks at the rally were able to send their questions to J.D. by texting a campaign phone number.