Dave Muhlbauer, of Manilla, announced on Monday morning that he will seek a seat in the United States Senate in November 2022.
Charles Grassley, the current occupant of the seat, will be up for reelection next year.
Muhlbauer credits former U.S. House of Representatives candidate J.D. Scholten with helping him make the decision.
“He came out to the farm last fall and rode in the combine with Dad and me,” Muhlbauer said. “We had a nice conversation about where farming is today and the issues and challenges we were facing along with other things.”
His father was Dan Muhlbauer, a farmer who was also a member of the Crawford County Board of Supervisors and member of the Iowa House of Representatives; he died later last October.
Muhlbauer introduced Scholten that night at the Democratic Party rally and the two have stayed in touch.
“I told him back then that I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that this Senate seat is what I wanted to strive for some day,” Muhlbauer said.
Scholten told him he thought he’d be a great candidate for the U.S. Senate; he introduced Muhlbauer to Adam Schantz, his campaign manager; Rania Batrice, a media strategist with 21 years of experience; and others from his campaign.
“That’s where it started,” Muhlbauer said. “We just kept working on things and we got to the point where we were ready to launch.”
The launch took place at 8 a.m. Monday with the official release of a professionally-produced video in which Muhlbauer lays out his reasons for wanting to be a member of the Senate.
“It shows who I am, who my family is, our history of farming and about being a supervisor and in politics,” he said.
One of the next steps will be to take an initial “meet and greet” loop to the eastern side of Iowa and back.
“We’re going to get out there and show people who we are, and work to get our message heard,” Muhlbauer said.
His family’s history in agriculture will be a key part of his campaign.
“It’s about the health of our environment and water quality or even just making sure we have a fair and level playing field for keeping the profit on our farm for independent family farmers,” he said.
“One of the things I want to focus on is healthcare, and especially mental health. Serving on Early Childhood Iowa, we were able to help fund a youth mental health therapist that we put into our Crawford County schools. We saw really good payback from what she was able to do to help out our kids.”
Infrastructure is another area Muhlbauer wants to work to enhance.
“We need to continue to build out Iowa; not just our roads and bridges, but our broadband internet so we can draw people back to Iowa, so we don’t keep losing people from our small towns in rural Iowa,” he said.
Muhlbauer wants to enhance and promote the quality of life in Iowa.
“It’s a safe place to live, where families can truly grow and have the best life,” he said.
Muhlbauer said his wife, Linda, who is a librarian in Manning, and his kids are a regular Iowa family; they understand the everyday issues facing all Iowans.
“I just feel that in the U.S. Senate I can really be part of the generation to help lead Iowa into the next 40 to 50 years to set us on a path that truly enhances everybody’s life,” he said.
Real-world solutions are needed for the people of Iowa, Muhlbauer said.
“I feel like we have to get back to uniting each other and being able to have conversations, even if we come from different viewpoints, on how we see things,” he said. “We have to have conversations that unite us and get us to move forward.”
Muhlbauer plans to step back somewhat from farming during the campaign.
The crops are planted and coming along, with just a little spraying to be done, he said.
For the present, he has decided to get out of the cattle business.
“With high-dollar corn prices and profits not being equitable in the cattle market, I’m going to hold off on filling up with cattle, which will free up more time to really put my energy and effort into this campaign,” Muhlbauer said.
The farm has a good crew in place, he said. That crew includes his brother-in-law Robert Riesselman and their two full-time employees.
Muhlbauer looks forward to getting out on the campaign trail.
“I’ll continue to make a ton of phone calls and I’m going to put in the hard work that it’s going to take to have our message be heard,” he said.
He admitted to having some anxiety about making the jump into the campaign – but he said he’s ready.
“I’m excited to go to work and get our message out that we’re here to unite Iowa and put us on track to lead us into a better future,” Muhlbauer said.
The campaign launch video may be viewed on Muhlbauer’s Facebook and twitter pages.