All posts by Lauren McIlvaine

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.

Globe Gazette: Car rally earns candidate J.D. Scholten honks of approval

Democratic congressional candidate J.D. Scholten speaks from the back of a truck at a campaign event in the parking lot of the North Iowa Events Center in Mason City on Thursday evening.

Typically when a candidate is giving a speech they have applause lines. They’ll finish a sentence, one that’s been honed for awhile, and then wait for the audience to clap and cheer.

Thursday night, J.D. Scholten settled for honks.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Democratic candidate in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District had to get creative and hold a campaign event in a parking lot of Mason City’s North Iowa Events Center. For nearly 30 minutes, Scholten spoke through a PA system, from the flatbed of a Ford F-150, to at least 30 cars worth of people about the myriad issues currently plaguing not just the area but the state and the country as well.

To organize the speech, the former pitcher and paralegal offered up the five principles of his campaign: putting Iowa over Congress, showing up for each and every county in the district, trying to fix healthcare, working for a more equitable economy and bolstering democracy. 

On the first point, Scholten said that one of the things he was proudest of when he ran against outgoing Congressman Steve King, R-Kiron, in 2018 was that his campaign garnered 25,000 more votes than there were registered Democrats in the district which means that there was meaningful crossover in that election. 

As for showing up, Scholten pointed out that in that 2018 cycle he went to every county at least three times. “This is about showing up … It’s about listening,” he said.

The final three points that Scholten hit are a common refrain at his events in 2020. 

Though Scholten is in favor of universal healthcare he acknowledged that an important next step is an expanded public option, which would allow middle-income and working-age Americans to choose a public insurance plan (such as Medicare or Medicaid) instead of a private insurance plan.

Cars line up in the North Iowa Events Center in Mason City on Thursday evening to hear Democratic congressional candidate J.D. Scholten speak.

“(We) must make sure rural hospitals are taken care of … (we must) make sure that prescription drug prices are reasonable,” Scholten said.

On the economic front, Scholten told the crowd that one reason the system looks the way it does for so many Americans is that there aren’t nearly enough working class politicians in D.C. The policies being written don’t reflect realities. “People are struggling to do everything and get ahead,” is how Scholten phrased it. 

To “secure” democracy, Scholten said its crucial to make it harder for politicians to become lobbyists once they’re out of office. On top of that, he also suggested corporate PAC shouldn’t have any place in campaigns.

In July, Scholten declined to take money from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee because, as he said in a statement, “We won’t be beholden to special interests or the DCCC; instead, we’re reaching out to folks across the political spectrum to earn votes.” When he reflected on that decision at the parking lot event, Scholten added that a campaign should be run out of the district and not out of Washington. 

Scholten will need funding as the race heads down the homestretch. 

Based on available polling data, which is limited, Scholten trails Republican challenger and State Sen. Randy Feenstra. 

Storm Lake Radio: JD Scholten Campaigns in Storm Lake

4th District Congressional candidate J.D. Scholten held a parking lot campaign rally at Frank Starr Park in Storm Lake this (Thur) evening.

Scholten, a Democrat, said his biggest goal in Congress would be to fight to enforce anti-trust laws.

“The USDA says that only one in 30 dairy farmers are still going to be in existence by 2036, and that’s all policy-driven out of D.C.  All farms matter, whether big or small.  We have to find a way to keep people on their land and make a dime.”

Scholten stressed protecting coverage of pre-existing conditions, and expanding social security and medicare. He said accessibility to prescription drugs is shrinking in the 4th district, and costs are going up.

Scholten said another goal is to fight for an economy that works for everybody.

“What we’ve seen with career-politicians in the past few decades is they’ve sold out the American worker, farmer, and consumer.  That’s never been more clear than what’s happened in the pandemic, when CEO’s and billionaires continue to have record profits while the majority of Americans are suffering.  If we continue to elect politicians who accept the status quo and don’t want reform, we can’t expect change.” 

Scholten said a program is needed to help relieve student loan debt.

After being asked about possible voter suppression, Scholten encouraged residents to have a plan, vote early, and those that want to vote by absentee ballot should put in their request soon, and to submit ballots right away.

Scholten will face Republican Randy Feenstra in the November 3rd general election.

Sioux City Journal: ‘J.D. Scholten has my vote’

Randy Feenstra has been my Iowa state senator since 2009. During this time, I wrote him three letters. He did not respond to any of the three, not even with a form letter. Sen. Feenstra is now running for Congress in Iowa’s 4th District. If Sen. Feenstra does not take the time to respond to his constituents in less than three counties, how can we expect him to respond to his constituents in the 39 counties of Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District?

J.D. Scholten has lots of good ideas and is a good listener. He cares about small towns as well as cities and made a tour of towns with under 1,000 people. When Scholten ran for Congress in 2018, he visited each of the 39 counties at least three times.

I want a congressional representative who is hard working and will listen to me. J.D. Scholten has my vote. Ruth Kocisko, Sioux Center, Iowa

NW Iowa Review: J.D. Scholten makes Sioux Center stop

J.D. Scholten didn’t speak much about his professional baseball career Thursday, Aug. 20, in Sioux Center, but his five campaign promises were printed on baseball cards for the audience to keep.

Those campaign promises were the focus of the remarks by the 40-year-old Democratic candidates for Iowa’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representative.

He spoke from the back of a pickup truck at the Sioux County fairgrounds parking lot while people in about 20 vehicles tuned into his message broadcast on the radio. He held a similar event on Wednesday in Sibley.

Scholten narrowly lost to longtime Republican incumbent Rep. Steve King in 2018. On Nov. 3, however, he will go up against state Sen. Randy Feenstra, who unseated King in the June Republican primaries.

Scholten’s first promise was to put the interest of Iowans over the interest of politics.

Instead of political ideology, he said a message that connects to people has the power to earn votes. That led to his next promise, which was simply that he will show up for people in the 4th District.

At the Sioux Center event, Scholten noted how in the fall, he conducted a “Don’t Forget About Us” tour in which he visited the district’s communities with fewer than 1,000 people.

“We’re willing to show up and we will continue to show up because this job is about service,” Scholten said. “It’s about giving back.”

His next three promises were to fix health care, fight for an economy that works for everybody and secure the country’s democracy.

When talking about health care, Scholten brought up the story of an attorney who mentored him while Scholten worked as a paralegal. The attorney recently was diagnosed with cancer but was told by his insurance company his doctor was no longer within its network.

“When he’s fighting for his life, he has to go find another doctor and that’s just wrong,” Scholten said.

He also said health care also was the No. 1 issue he spoke to people during his small-town tour last fall.

In Hardin County, a woman had told Scholten how she could not afford an inhaler prescription which would cost $244 a month. Even when her doctor gave her a cheaper one with fewer doses, she still could not pay for it. Her doctor eventually told her to go to Canada to buy an inhaler.

“If that’s the best we are as a nation, we can do way better,” Scholten said.

When speaking about fighting for an economy that works for everyone, Scholten said career politicians have sold out people such as farmers, teachers and everyday consumers with policies that do not adequately value their work.

In agriculture specifically, he spoke about how concentration of large dairy, pork and cattle companies have hurt small farming operations. He also mentioned how President Donald Trump’s small-refinery exemptions to oil refineries have hurt corn producers.

“They’re picking sides and it’s big oil conglomerates over the American farmer, over our Midwest corn growers,” Scholten said. “One thing we’re pushing for is not only making sure that the renewable fuel standard is met at that 15 billion gallons of ethanol per year in our fuel supply but we’re pushing for a low-carbon fuel standard.”

His final promise about securing democracy focused on how special-interest groups and their lobbyists in Washington, D.C., dictate policy by giving money to lawmakers through political action committees. Unlike those lawmakers, Scholten said his campaign does not accept corporate money or support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“We wanted to run out of Sioux City, Iowa. We wanted to be held accountable by the people of this district, rather than the folks out in D.C.,” Scholten said.

He later took questions from attendees after they texted them to his campaign staff. One question was how Scholten would protect Social Security and Medicare.

Scholten said he supports a policy proposal called “scrap the cap,” which would require people to pay into Social Security past the $137,700 income limit. Regarding Medicare, he supports expanding the program and lowering the age limit so people can access it by age 50.

He also was asked how he would get large companies such as Amazon to set up locations in places such as N’West Iowa. He reframed the issue to instead say he would push for tax cuts to small businesses that already exist in such places.

“What we need to do is give tax breaks to the small businesses, the innovation, to help create local economies,” he said.

“When you spend money at Dollar General, it doesn’t always stay here. It goes to headquarters, it goes to Wall Street. What we need is to strengthen our Main Streets and we need an economy and a tax system that benefits that.”

Written by Randy Paulson

KTIV: Scholten hosts a “drive-in” campaign event

Congressional candidate JD Scholten, like so many other politicians, has had to adjust his campaign operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wednesday, the Democrat spoke to supporters during a “drive-in” campaign stop in Sioux City.

Supporters could pull up to North High School, stay in their cars, and tune to a specific radio frequency to hear Scholten speak just a few feet away.
This method allows him to travel to all 39 counties in the 4th Congressional District, and allow voters to safely hear his message.
He also acknowledges — during the pandemic — reaching voters can be difficult.

But, he says, it’s not impossible.

“I want to meet with everybody. I want to be accessible. We are open to everybody. Everyday we talk about it doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, or brown. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat, Independent, Republican or never voted before. We’re going to go out there and try and earn your vote.” said J.D. Scholten, 4th District Congressional Candidate

Scholten also took time to answer questions texted to him, and to hand out campaign baseball cards containing his five campaign promises,.
They include fixing healthcare, and fighting for an economy that works for everyone.
Scholten will face Republican candidate Randy Feenstra in the November general election.

KCAU: J.D. Scholten holds parking lot rally

Political candidates have had to get creative in order to campaign during the pandemic.

That leads one Siouxland hopeful to climb in the back of a pickup tonight.

Congressional candidate J.D. Scholten launching a tour of Iowa’s 4th District with a parking lot rally in Sioux City.

Two years ago during a traditional campaign season, the Democrat lost a close race to incumbent Steve King.

This time around, he’s facing republican Randy Feenstra and the campaign trail looks a bit different.

Scholten says he plans to visit all 375 incorporated towns in Iowa’s 4th District, talking with folks about the issues for the first time in months.

KMEG: J.D. Scholten launches “Every Town Tour”

Sioux City’s North High School parking lot hosted a rally in support of the democrat running for the 4th congressional district in Iowa.

J.D. Scholten’s “Every Town Tour” brought local supporters to this socially-distanced event.

Attendees could listen in, from the comfort of their vehicles, by tuning in to 89.9 FM.

The tour will eventually cover 375 towns in Iowa’s 4th district, giving Scholten a chance to meet his supporters.

“We’re trying to get out the best we can. That’s the tough part. I want to meet everybody. I want to be accessible. We are open to every day. Every day we talk about, doesn’t matter if you’re white, black or brown, doesn’t matter if you’re democrat, independent, republican or never voted before. We’re going to try and earn your vote,” Scholten said.

Scholten will be hosting more parking lot rallies in Woodbury, Plymouth, Ida and Cherokee counties this weekend in an effort to connect with as many people as possible.