Ames Pediatrician John Paschen Fourth Dem to Enter Primary to Face Steve King

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John Paschen, an Ames pediatrician who’s well known locally, on Monday announced that he plans to enter the increasingly crowded Democratic primary to challenge eighth-term Republican incumbent Steve King for the 4th Congressional District.

Paschen is the husband of Cindy Paschen, a longtime Ames community volunteer who unsuccessfully primaried Democratic state Sen. Herman Quirmbach in 2014 and the following year briefly ran for the at-large City Council seat eventually won by Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen.

According to the Ames Tribune, John Paschen plans to officially enter the race in early October. If he does, he’ll join three other Democrats who have already announced bids: Sioux City paralegal and former baseball player J.D. Scholten, Spencer City Council member and small businesswoman Leann Jacobsen, and Webster City bus driver and former pastor Paul Dahl.

The growing field of Democrats who plan to face off in next June’s primary has emerged following Kim Weaver’s exit from the race. Weaver, who lost to King by 22 points in 2016, planned to challenge him again in 2018 but dropped out of the race in early June, citing death threats and family issues.

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Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.