The rise of J.D. Scholten into prominence in the political arena has been nothing short of meteoric. The little-known democrat ran an unconventional campaign for the 4th district congressional seat that nearly resulted in a significant upset for Steve King, the Republican incumbent in Sioux City’s 4th district.
His subsequent race in 2020 against Feenstra, the republican candidate in 2020, has catapulted Scholten to fame in political circles in Iowa. But who exactly is J.D. Scholten?
Who is J.D. Scholten?
J.D. Scholten is an American politician, former paralegal, and baseball star. He was born James D. Scholten in 1980 in Ames, Iowa. He has played baseball in Canada, Belgium, and France, among other countries. He has also worked as a paralegal with various firms.
He is widely known for being nominated as the congressional candidate for the 4th district in Iowa in the 2018 elections. He ran against Republican Steve King and nearly caused a major upset by beating King. He would later run again in 2020 and was defeated again, but this time by republican Randy Feenstra.
His parents are Jim and Deb Scholten. His father was a teacher and baseball coach at Nevada high school. His parents later moved to Sioux City in Iowa when he was four years old. Scholten went to East High School, where he played baseball and basketball for the school’s teams.
His father was the baseball coach of Morningside College, where Scholten played in the college baseball team as a pitcher and a first baseman for three years. Later he moved to the University of Nebraska, where he played as the lead pitcher for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Scholten’s baseball career began in high school. He played both basketball and baseball while at East High School. Because of his dominant physic and towering height, he was a natural at both games. But baseball is where he excelled and was the star pitcher and first baseman for his college team for three years.
He soon transferred to the University of Nebraska, where he went on to play for the university’s baseball team, and in 2002 he led the Cornhuskers to the World College Series.
After University, Scholten went on to play professional baseball making his debut in the Canadian baseball league for the Saskatoon Legends in 2003. In 2004 he returned to the US and was signed by the Sioux City Explorers.
Scholten played in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball for a few years before moving to Europe to play in the semi-pro baseball leagues. He played baseball in seven countries, including Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, and Cuba, before retiring in 2017 to pursue politics.
During the Pandemic, Scholten has rediscovered his love for baseball, and he recently started training again. He also plays for the Buffalo warriors, an amateur baseball league team. Scholten says he is fascinated by the evolution of sports science, particularly the pitching mechanisms. He has recently been training at his former stomping grounds on East Side high and Sioux City.
In between his baseball career, Scholten took on a job as a paralegal and worked for various law firms in Seattle. Scholten’s drive to join politics was inspired by the civic-minded people he worked with as a paralegal. The selfless nature of his colleagues and the complex issues of social inequality pushed him to move back to Iowa in 2017 and run for the congressional seat in the 4th district in 2018 and later in 2020.
Affiliation with the Democratic Party
JD Scholten ran for office under a Democratic Party ticket both in 2018 and 2020. In 2018, many local officials endorsed him when he was gunning for the party ticket in the Democratic Primary. He received endorsements from various democratic associations and influential democrats, including senator Bernie Sanders.
Sanders even campaigned for Scholten in Sioux City to draw out the democratic support for Scholten in the republican dominated district. Scholten ran an aggressive grassroots campaign where he visited all 39 counties in Iowa, crisscrossing the state in an RV van dubbed Sioux City Sue. He lost that first bid with only three percentage points to the incumbent King in a difficult race.
His second bid in 2020 saw him run unopposed as the democratic candidate against Republican Randy Feenstra and lost resoundingly as Iowa turned pro-Trump.
Policies & Campaign Promises
JD Scholten ran his campaign under the banner of social equality. His main point is universal healthcare for all. He believes that all Iowans and indeed all Americans are entitled to good health services. Scholten’s philosophy is that health care should not be a barrier to people living meaningful and productive lives.
The second promise he ran his campaign on was the revitalization of the agricultural economy of Iowa. According to Scholten, the problem of modernization has not been dealt with in rural America.
His goal, if elected, would be to combine modern agricultural practices and advanced manufacturing technology to provide jobs and revamp the economy of Iowa.
He is also passionate about campaign funding reform. This was a campaign issue that boosted his ratings in the first Democratic Primary. He ran a remarkable campaign funds drive, outraising all the republican candidates he was competing against.
He believes that changing the campaign funding rules is the only way Washington will allow for competitive races. This will also return the rule by a government of the people by the people and for the people.
Amid speculation that Scholten was considering running for Senate or governor, he has since come out to clarify that he will not run for any political post in 2022. He is now focused on workings the executive director of RuralVote. The organization is a super PAC focused on increasing the chances of Democratic Party candidates in Rural America.