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Former Iowa House candidate calls on Democrats to build party's 'long-term vision'

Former Iowa Democratic congressional candidate J.D. Scholten is calling on the Democratic Party to “restructure” and develop a long-term vision in red states across the country.

Scholten, who ran unsuccessfully in a heavily Republican district in northwest Iowa this year, argued during a Hill.TV interview that a number of issues favored by Democrats are winning even if candidates themselves aren't in certain areas.

"Whether it’s Medicaid expansion, worker’s rights down in Missouri ... down in Florida they raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour. In South Dakota they passed marijuana. All these things we’re seeing — our policies are winning, but candidates are not,” Scholten said.

Scholten noted that the northern region of Iowa is located between Wisconsin and South Dakota, arguing that “I think politically that’s exactly where we’re at too.”

“We have a decision to make. Are we going to be more towards Wisconsin or are we going to end up like South Dakota?" he said.

Scholten ran this year in Iowa's 4th District but was defeated by state Sen. Randy Feenstra (R) to fill the seat held by longtime Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingRep. Gosar denounces 'white racism' after controversial appearance In Marjorie Taylor Greene, a glimpse of the future House votes to kick Greene off committees over embrace of conspiracy theories MORE (R). Scholten also launched a campaign in the district in the 2018 midterms against King but lost. King was defeated by Feenstra in a GOP primary earlier this year.

"Just 20 years ago, we had the Senate majority leader in [Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle] being from South Dakota, and we had Democratic senators in North Dakota, in Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, and they’re all on the map this year and everyone says there’s no chance of picking up those seats,” Scholten said.  

“I think we really need to restructure. I think the [Democratic National Committee] has a huge role to play in saying, let’s get organizers on the ground, and maybe it’s not for the 2022 cycle, but it’s got to be that longterm vision, and giving an opportunity. When you have a really good candidate, you’ve got to give them every chance to succeed,” he continued.

Republicans unseated at least 13 House Democratic incumbents and gained a net of at least 10 seats in the 2020 election.