First major Democrat announces 2022 bid for Iowa governor

First major Democrat announces 2022 bid for Iowa governor
© Greg Nash

Iowa state Rep. Ras Smith is jumping into the state's race for governor, becoming the first prominent Democrat to announce a 2022 challenge to Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds

“After representing the people of Iowa’s 62nd House District for five years, today I’m taking the next step in my pursuit to help unite Iowans of all walks of life, all across the state, to find solutions to our common struggles,” Smith said in an email to supporters on Tuesday. “I’m running for Governor of Iowa.”

Smith, a third-term state representative who chairs the Iowa Legislative Black Caucus, rose to prominence in the legislature last year when he helped spearhead the passage of a set of police reforms in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. 

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Smith is the first major Democrat to announce a run for governor next year. State Auditor Rob Sanders has also floated a potential bid for the job.

Reynolds has not yet formally announced a reelection bid, though she is widely expected to do so. She was once seen as a potential contender to replace Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators 'Blue wave' Democrats eye comebacks after losing reelection MORE (R-Iowa) if he decides to retire after his current term. 

But she ruled out a Senate bid earlier this month, telling reporters that she would “not leave Iowa.” No other Republican has jumped into the race for governor.