Democrat DeJear to seek Iowa governorship in 2022

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa voting rights advocate Deidre DeJear announced Saturday she will seek the state’s governorship in 2022.

“Working families have been hit hard over the past few years. They are worth the fight,” DeJear, a Democrat, said in a campaign statement ahead of an announcement ceremony in suburban Des Moines. “As your governor, I will spend my time working on solutions by bringing together Iowans from river to river to meet our challenges head on.”

DeJear, 35, gained attention in 2018 when she became the first Black candidate in Iowa to win a statewide primary ahead of her unsuccessful campaign for Iowa secretary of state. She was defeated by incumbent Republican Paul Pate.

She stepped down in July from a state commission charged with holding public hearings to gather feedback about upcoming redistricting proposals in order to travel the state to explore running for governor.

A Mississippi native, DeJear attended high school in Oklahoma and moved to Des Moines to attend Drake University. DeJear later got her political start working on Barack Obama’s winning campaign for the 2008 Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses.

After the 2018 election, DeJear became a senior Iowa adviser to then-California Sen. Kamala Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign.

DeJear joins state Rep. Ras Smith of Waterloo among Democrats hoping to challenge Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, next year. Reynolds, governor since 2017, is expected to seek re-election.