Ben Lange won Tuesday's GOP primary for Iowa's 1st Congressional District. He will take on Democratic incumbent congressman Bruce Braley in November, as he did in the fall of 2010.
Independence Attorney Lange, 33, beat Dubuque businessman Rod Blum, 57, in a close race.
Lange gathered with his family and campaign supporters at a Cedar Rapids hotel event room to watch the results. The group was calm and confident throughout the evening, and as the numbers came in it was clear Lange would have a second shot at Braley's seat.
Two years ago, Lange gave Braley a run for his money in a very tight race, where Braley narrowly won by two percentage points.
Now, with Iowa's reconfigured 1st congressional district, the Democratic registration numbers have dropped since the last congressional race and unaffiliated voters are abundant.
"The second time around, you do in anything, you learn from your mistakes, you learn what you can do better. We're more effective, more efficient, better organized, better financed. And with redistricting here in Iowa we have cut that voter registration in half that Braley had, and Governor Branstad just won the district by 5,000 votes. So people know the district can be won," said Lange.
Voters got a chance to see Lange and Blum side by side at a May 21 debate.
Blum touted his experience as a business man and job-creator, who takes a hard line against illegal immigration. He said he has more experience than his 33-year-old opponent.
Lange, however, said his age will bring a fresh perspective to Washington, where he wants to limit the size and role of the federal government.
Blum and about 50 supporters gathered Tuesday night at Courtside Sports Bar and Grill to watch the results roll in. Though Lange led the entire time, the margin narrowed to about two percentage at the time of two-thirds of the precincts reporting, which elicited cheers from Blum's supporters.
At the watch party, Blum said even though he didn't win, he'll continue to fight for his conservative values, which could include another run for office in the future.