Democrat Rep. Ras Smith announces run for Iowa governor
Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo, is running for governor in 2022. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Legislature)
State Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo, announced Tuesday he will run for governor in 2022, making him the first major Democrat to enter the race.
Smith released a video early Tuesday to launch his campaign. The video focuses on unity among Iowans, regardless of profession, background or political affiliation.
“At the end of the day, we’re all on this journey together,” Smith says in the video’s voiceover.
My name is Ras Smith and I am running for Governor because I believe that Iowa’s greatest days are ahead of us. (1/7) pic.twitter.com/lWpjjPISIM
— Ras Smith (@rasforiowa) June 15, 2021
“I have faith that when we work together, when we use new eyes to look at new problems, we can build a state where everyone can succeed,” Smith said.
Smith, 33, was first elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 2016. He gained prominence in the summer of 2020 when he spearheaded efforts to draft and pass a policing bill, known among lawmakers as the “More Perfect Union” Act. The law requires police to undergo implicit bias and de-escalation training, provides additional safeguards against officers who have committed serious misconduct, and bans the use of chokeholds in most situations.
Several Des Moines activists lauded Smith’s decision to enter the race. Black Liberation Movement organizer Jaylen Cavil tweeted that Smith had been supportive of the movement “since day one.”
If there’s one elected official or politician in Iowa who has always supported @DesMoinesBLM & the young people across the state demanding racial justice, it’s @rasforiowa. Since day one, he has used his position in the legislature to push our demands & bring us to the table.
— Polk County Sheriff Jaylen Cavil 🇵🇸 (@jaylencavil) June 15, 2021
Rep. Jennifer Konfrst, the newly elected House minority leader, also congratulated Smith on his run Tuesday morning.
“It’s a big step, and I think it’s really important that we’re out here early holding Gov. Reynolds accountable,” the Windsor Heights Democrat said.
Smith lives in Waterloo with his wife and two daughters. He attended the University of Northern Iowa, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a master’s in leisure, youth and human services.
- Gov. Kim Reynolds has not yet announced her run for re-election. In early June, she told the Des Moines Register that she would not be seeking a Senate seat and that she sees a lot of work left to do in Iowa.
- State Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat, said Monday that he is praying for guidance as he decides whether to run for governor in 2022. He has been a vocal critic of Reynolds, most recently publishing a report on a COVID-19 PSA that Sand alleges was illegal self-promotion.
- State Sen. Rob Hogg announced Monday that he will not seek re-election to represent Cedar Rapids in the Iowa Senate. Hogg has served as a Democratic state senator for over a decade. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2016. He has not announced plans to seek higher office after his current term ends.
- Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Hiawatha, told several news outlets Monday that she was “seriously considering” a run for Congress in Iowa’s 1st District. Rep. Ashley Hinson, a Republican, won the seat in 2020.
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