During the 2018 election cycle, J.D. Scholten was the only candidate to host a town hall in all 39 counties in Iowa’s 4th district. He started off every one with this statistic: the average member of the U.S. Congress is 58 years old and has a net worth of about one million dollars. J.D. Scholten is different: he’s 20 years younger and about a million dollars short of that average. He has something money can’t buy: deep Iowa roots and values and the determination to win.
Throughout his life, both as a teammate and as a professional, J.D. has put others first, and surrounded himself with others who do the same. He’s played baseball in seven countries, and his legal career has taken him to Minneapolis and Seattle. But who he is has never changed: an Iowan, an active public citizen, and an energetic teammate with a vision, strong work ethic, and integrity. His family raised him to believe that hard work, civility, and love of community are the values we should all aspire to. In every chapter of his life, he has demonstrated that he lives these values, and now, these values are the reason he is running to serve Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.
J.D., a 5th generation Iowan, was born March 4, 1980, at Mary Greeley Hospital in Ames. At 10 lbs. 2 oz., he was already standing tall. At the age of three, his family moved from the town of Nevada to Sioux City, where he grew up and first played baseball. One of his grandfathers sold feed and seed to local farmers in Lyon County. The other was a farmer just outside of Lake Mills, while Grandma Fern—his personal hero—was a local elementary school teacher at Northwood-Kensett Elementary school. J.D.’s father coached baseball at Morningside College and his mother worked in public health, looking out for other mothers and their families.
As a student-athlete at Sioux City’s East High School, and then at Morningside College, J.D. emphasized both academics and athletics, making the Dean’s List and earning first-team academic all-conference. After turning down a chance to get drafted in the 2001 MLB draft, J.D. transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he would lead the College World Series-bound team in Earned Run Average while earning academic all-conference.
After college, J.D. pursued a professional baseball career, playing in Canada for the Saskatoon Legends, for his hometown Sioux City Explorers over the course of four seasons, and in Europe. Between baseball seasons, J.D. began a career as a litigation paralegal, specializing in Intellectual Property and trials law. This career taught him the ins-and-outs of the law, good governance, and how to fight for people’s rights. He found his true passion of helping others through pro-bono work, which included helping a Cameroonian man gain asylum after being tortured by his own government, and enabled a Minnesota company to protect its Intellectual Property rights against a giant corporation.
2018 Campaign for Congress
Inspired by his Grandma Fern and a Women’s March he attended, J.D. decided to run for Congress against Steve King in 2018. The Democratic establishment said the 4th Congressional District was unwinnable, but J.D. took a page from his political heroes, Berkley Bedell and Tom Harkin, and travelled to every one of the 39 counties in the district at least three times, putting over 35,000 miles on J.D.’s personal vehicle and an additional 24,000 miles on the now-famous “Sioux City Sue” — his beloved Winnebago RV (made in the district!). This grassroots campaign ultimately came within 3 points of beating Steve King, proving that passion, grit, and a deep understanding of the people of the 4th Congressional District can make this race competitive. J.D. held dozens of town halls in 2018 — a stark comparison to Steve King’s lack of presence in the community. Now, for the first time in his political career, Rep. King held town halls. But J.D.’s work is not done yet — now, it is time for him to beat Steve King and give the people of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District the representation they deserve in Congress.
As a proud Catholic, J.D. can be found attending mass in towns around the district, or otherwise cheering on his favorite sports teams, playing cards, or chowing down some Casey’s pizza while he travels the district in his home-away-from-home. Keep your eyes peeled, the Sioux City Sue and its driver, J.D. Scholten are coming soon to your community!