Senate Hopeful Talks Why He’s Running For Office
Oskaloosa, Iowa – The primary to determine who will be the Republican nominee to face Bruce Braily (D) for the seat currently filled by Senator Tom Harkin (D), who is retiring at the end of the year, is underway.
Sam Clovis, a Republican hopeful who once called Oskaloosa home when he was a dean at William Penn University, says that when Senator Harkin said he was retiring, “It sent a ripple through the entire state”.
Harkin has been one of Iowa’s Senators and is serving his fifth term since being elected to the Senate in 1984. Before that, Harkin served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 until his election to the Senate, where he’s been a fixture for 30 years.
“My decision to run really came after I’d watched the field start to assemble. I’ve never run for office before in my life. I’d never done anything like this, so my intention was to make sure that in this race, we had someone who’s a true conservative and someone who’d very much represent conservative values,” Clovis said. “I’ve felt like that a lot of the people in this were in this for the wrong reasons, more a career move than being a member of congress.”
In a crowded Republican field, standing out from the crowd of candidates can be difficult. “Where the differentiation starts to begin is looking at the body of work that I’ve accomplished.”
Clovis served 25 years in the Air Force, retiring as a full Colonel, where he was an Inspector General for Space Command, also being a fighter squadron commander during his Air Force career.
Once Clovis hung up his uniform he put on his entrepreneur hat, all the while achieving his doctorate in education. This brought him to William Penn where he served as a Dean of the College and Business Management Science, before landing at Morningside College as a tenured professor.
Clovis came to Oskaloosa and William Penn via Alabama. “William Penn offered me an opportunity to come up here.” Clovis and his family called Oskaloosa home for 6 years with his step-son graduating from OHS in 2006. Clovis still has property in town.
“It’s always great to come back,” said Clovis of his stop in Oskaloosa.
This past week, Democrat candidate Bruce Braily and his campaign have stumbled, when a video surfaced of Brailey taking a jab at current U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and the possibility of him taking over the Senate Judiciary Committee as its Chair. Braily was caught saying about a “farmer from Iowa, who never went to law school”, then spent the week on damage control.
Brailey’s campaign then incorrectly spelled two words in the press release that related to farming, used a picture that was to represent Iowa, but actually was of a farm in England. Braily’s campaign ended the week asking if minimum wage should be increased. The image used for that post drew fire when it was disclosed it wasn’t taken in Iowa, and was actually taken in Mexico.
At the same time, Joni Ernst and her campaign made headlines for a different reason, when a campaign ad of hers got the attention of late night and Comedy Central comedians. The first line got most everyone’s attention with, “I grew up castrating hogs” finishing out the ad by saying of Washington politicians, “Let’s make ‘em squeal”.
Brailey had been leading the field for the Senate race, but with Ernst’s sudden attention and Brailey’s stumble, the polls may very well show a different race.
“This shows he [Brailey] is really an elitist. He is a person who I think follows very much in the mold of other politicians who are kind of an elite group of people who think they know best,” said Clovis. “He’ll bring home enough pork to keep everybody happy and keep him in office for the next 30 years.”
But for candidates like Clovis who lack the funding of Jacobs or Ernst, getting your message out can be difficult. Name recognition is another problem for a candidate like Clovis, which is then compounded by a lack of funding to buy needed advertising that helps generate that name recognition.
Clovis believes that the focus towards social issues is driven by the media. Republicans have been divided as of late in regards to social issues, with moderate, libertarian and conservative branches of the party fighting for control of the party. “If Republicans are reminded about social issues all the time… I’m not gonna sit here and beat someone over the head with those issues and say look, that’s the only thing we’re running on,” Clovis said. He did say he’s been “steadfast” on the social issues.
Clovis points towards issues such as the economy, and trying to “Get Congress back inside the Constitution of the United States. We’re trying to get the President back inside the Constitution.”
Citizen United recently endorsed Clovis. Citizens United says its main purpose is to restore the United States government to “citizens’ control” and to “assert American values of limited government, freedom of enterprise, strong families, and national sovereignty and security.”
David N. Bossie, President of Citizens United said, “Those in the Washington establishment may not like Sam, but I can tell you he will never compromise his core conservative beliefs to appease those in Washington.”