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Scholten Tells Supporters They 'Haven't Seen The Last' Of Him; Unsure Of Next Steps

John Pemble/IPR
J.D. Scholten speaks at the Des Moines Register's Political Soapbox on Saturday, Aug. 18.

Former congressional candidate J.D. Scholten says he’s not sure what the future holds after he was beaten by Republican Congressman Steve King to represent Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.
In his concession speech Tuesday night, Scholten told supporters they "haven’t seen the last of J.D. Scholten!" He pointed to his political heroes Berkley Bedell and Tom Harkin, who also lost their first races.

Scholten, in an interview with Iowa Public Radio, said he has no idea what’s next for him.

“My mom humbled me pretty quick when she said ‘well you’re unemployed now.’ So I don’t know. I need a job. I’ll just start looking…”

Scholten is a former professional baseball player and a freelance paralegal. He says he’ll have to check with previous clients from his freelance work to see if they have work for him.

Part of his campaign focused on modernizing the economy so people can stay in the district for higher paying jobs after they graduate college.

Scholten is a fifth-generation Iowan raised in Sioux City. He waged a people-supported grassroots movement against King that gained momentum as he campaigned across the district for better health care, an economy that keeps college graduates in-state and fighting for the Iowa farmer.

"I listened to my heart and I listened to the people. That's what we ran on."

Over the course of the race, Scholten said the biggest thing he learned was to be himself and follow his heart.

“I listened to my heart and I listened to the people. That’s what we ran on. I think for the most part, people really appreciate that,” Scholten said. “It’s about earning respect, respecting others and earning votes and I thought we accomplished that pretty darn well.”

As for Scholten’s “Sioux City Sue”, the Winnebago RV he drove around the 4th District to meet with residents, Scholten said he’ll have to say goodbye, since it was purchased by his campaign. While on the campaign trail in the Winnebago, Scholten said he slept in Wal-Mart parking lots more often than his own bed.

“I’m going to be pretty sad to see this thing go because I built quite the relationship with this thing,” he said. “I put probably 23-24,000 miles on it. It’s been an absolute blessing.”

Scholten earned 47 percent of the vote while King took in just more than 50 percent. It’s the closest race King has battled in his nine election wins.

When the race was called in King’s favor, Scholten congratulated him by phone and told King he hopes he honors the district.

King mentioned the talk during his victory speech, praising Scholten as a gentleman and calling his 39-county tour across the district “a good thing.”

“He met a lot of people,” King said. “And when you do that, you’re not a loser because you made friends and you learn from that.”

Katie Peikes is IPR's agriculture reporter