Rita Hart mug

Rita Hart

CEDAR RAPIDS — Rita Hart, the only Democrat actively seeking her party’s nomination to succeed U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, has scored another endorsement, this one from state Auditor Rob Sand.

“Iowa families need Rita Hart fighting for them in Washington,” Sand said Sunday. “Her deep integrity and experience as a farmer, teacher and state senator make me proud to support her today.

“Rita will always stand up to the Washington special interests and never back down from tough challenges,” said Sand, who was elected to his post in 2018.

His endorsement follows Loebsack’s endorsement last week.

Loebsack, first elected in 2006, has announced he will not seek re-election in 2020. Although there are hints other Democrats will seek the nomination in the 24-county southeast Iowa district, so far Hart is the only active Democratic candidate.

Osceola Mayor Thomas Kedley has filed for the Republican nomination.

The district, which re-elected Loebsack after backing Donald Trump in 2016, is considered a swing district and one Republicans hope to capture in 2020.

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Hart said she was thrilled to have Sand’s endorsement.

“Rob and I agree that we have to restore people’s trust in government and can never forget who we work for — hardworking Iowa families,” she said.

In announcing his endorsement, Sand said it’s not something he takes lightly because “I wouldn’t be endorsing someone unless I thought they embodied the values Iowans truly want to see in government and public service.”

Hart is a farmer and 20-year educator who also served in the Iowa Senate. In 2018, she was the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, running with Fred Hubbell. She and her husband, Paul, have five children. They farm near Wheatland, raising corn and soybeans since 1986.

In addition to the backing from Loebsack and Sand, Hart has been endorsed by more than 70 Democratic activists, leaders and officeholders.

Sand has not ruled out making endorsements in other races, but said in Hart’s case it was “a unique opportunity to make clear Rita is the partner at the federal level Rob needs to get work done for the families of the 2nd District.”

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Statehouse reporter for The Courier

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