671 Days ‘Til 2018 Election, First Candidate Enters Race

HUXLEY, Iowa–No statewide blitz on a plane to fly from big city to big city in front of screaming supporters at rallies. Instead, the first candidate to officially enter Iowa’s 2018 race for governor chose a simpler, albeit sophisticated, method to announce his candidacy: social media.

“My name is Rich Leopold and I’m here to announce my candidacy for governor of Iowa,” Leopold, a Huxley Democrat, said on Facebook in a live announcement Wednesday morning.

Leopold is the former director of the Department of Natural Resources and currently serves as director of the Polk County Conservative Board.

He talked about the need to create jobs that can’t be outsourced, as well as improving and protecting the state’s environment. Leopold pledged that his campaign will be different that traditional ones. “Get ready,” he said, “This is going to be a campaign like none other.”

Leopold called himself an “outsider” and criticized politicians. “Politicians, they talk a lot. They offer some opinions. They form a committee. They make excuses,” Leopold said, “They wait for the next election cycle and nothing changes. I say, ‘let’s change this. Let’s do this. Let’s take care of our own.'”

He has never held elected office. Current Iowa Democratic Party Chair Andy McGuire has also been weighing a run for governor. So is Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg, who lost the primary last year to become his party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate.

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, a Republican from Osceola, hasn’t said if she will run for governor in 2018. But, of course, she hasn’t even taken over as governor yet. She is waiting on Governor Terry Branstad to resign once the U.S. Senate officially confirms him as the next U.S. Ambassador to China.

But Reynolds campaign released a statement on what her campaign bank account looks like. The campaign countsĀ $1,077,729.