Democrat Ras Smith withdraws from 2022 governor race

By: - January 5, 2022 10:04 am

Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Legislature)

Rep. Ras Smith has suspended his campaign for Iowa governor.

The Waterloo Democrat announced Wednesday that his seven-month campaign had revealed “a drastic disconnect between the current political system and the people.”

“I have come to the heartbreaking conclusion that there are barriers that one campaign cannot overcome, no matter how hard we work or how faithfully we represent the majority of hardworking Iowans,” Smith said in a statement.

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn tweeted his support for Smith on Wednesday morning.

“I’m proud of the work you did and the important voice you brought to this race,” Wilburn wrote.

Wilburn and Smith, both members of the Iowa House of Representatives, will reconvene at the Capitol next week, as the 2022 legislative session begins.

Smith’s departure leaves just one well-known competitor to Gov. Kim Reynolds: Deidre DeJear, a Des Moines Democrat and former secretary of state candidate. Two lesser-known Democrats have also thrown their hats into the ring: Paul Dahl, a delivery driver, and Joshua Kuhn-McRoberts, a former Iowa Finance Authority employee.

Reynolds has not officially announced her candidacy for a second term. The Republican Party of Iowa released a statement supporting Reynolds in the wake of Smith’s announcement.

“Gov. Reynolds has fought for us every step of the way and I know Iowans are ready to re-elect her in 2022,” said GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.