Democratic Congressional candidates campaign for 2016 election - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Democratic Congressional candidates campaign for 2016 election

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The race is on for 2016 in Iowa - for Congress.

A 2nd candidate for U.S. Congress has already thrown his hat in the ring for the First District seat.

Businessman Ravi Patel joins Cedar Rapids City Council member Monica Vernon as Democrats wanting to unseat freshman Republican Congressman Rod Blum, who just started at the beginning of January.

They're hoping to get a jump on fundraising and name recognition with an early announcement.

Ravi Patel is the newest candidate for political office has never run for public office.

He's the president of a hotel franchise.

"I just don't think there should be a timeline for good ideas. If you hear a candidacy that can change things in Washington and help our home state, why not?" said Patel.

"I'm watching votes right now and looking at how I would do it differently," said Vernon.

She announced her Congressional campaign last month.

It's her 2nd try, and she just came off an unsuccessful run for Lieutenant Governor.

"It's a continuation of reaching out to people. That's what it's about. Making friends, keeping them, listening to people, checking back in. Now it's like family with some people. Sometimes it takes a few times to do this," said Vernon.

Political analysts say Democrats think Blum is a one-term Congressman and may have a better climate to pick up his seat in the next election.

"In 2016, you'll have a very different electorate, it'll be a Presidential year, you'll have a bigger turnout that will presumably is going to favor Democrats. The climate is more favorable in 2016 than 2014," said KWWL political analyst Chris Larimer.

For Patel, the campaign starts now.

"Someone else has already jumped in this race and we believe that jumping in early will help us to garner more support and get our name in front of potential voters. If there's already someone who's dove into the race, then it's better now than holding off," said Patel.

Blum's office gave us this statement:

"Congressman Blum is 100% focused on the job Eastern Iowans elected him to do in November: working hard to increase opportunities for working families, holding the federal government accountable to the people, and reducing burdens on small businesses so our economy can get back on track ."

Vernon and Patel are just 2 of the announced candidates.

Advertising executive Gary Kroeger of Waterloo says he's exploring a run and plans to decide this spring while former Governor Chet Culver is reportedly considering a run for the seat.

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