DMACC student to seek bid for U.S. House of Representatives seat

By Alex Payne

A DMACC student from Des Moines plans to challenge ten-term Republican Representative Tom Latham in November 2014.

Gabriel De La Cerda, 34, Communications major is currently the only active Democratic candidate seeking the 2014 third congressional seat nomination, which includes Polk County.

“Our elected officials are for the most part no longer working for the best interests of the American citizen. They are bought and paid for by the highest bidder,” De La Cerda said. “I want to show the American people our democracy can still be saved, however we must actually partake in its reconstruction in order to save it.”

De La Cerda served as the Iowa political coordinator for the United Steelworkers in 2012 and has volunteered for many election campaigns. He has also been part of the Occupy Des Moines movement when he  “dabbled in activism.”

Money is one of De La Cerda’s biggest challenges as he gets started. The 2012 election for the third congressional district was a pricy one. In 2012, Latham spent about $3.4 million and Democrat Leonard Boswell spent about $1.7 million, according to the Federal ElectioDe La Certa n Commission.

But De La Cerda believes that students at DMACC will help him along the way.

“The student support from those whom I have shared my candidacy with has been overwhelming,” De La Cerda said. “The spark in someone’s eyes when they realize what it is I am trying to accomplish is like caffeine for my soul. I hope I am offering encouragement through action.”

But De La Cerda will need more than DMACC student support. The third district of Iowa had 453,652 registered voters in October 2012 with a 9.9 percent advantage going to the Republican candidate.

“It will not be an easy task, but tasks worth doing are seldom ever easy. I embrace the challenge and look forward to the help of my classmates along the way,” De La Cerda said.

To be considered a candidate for the primary on June 3, 2014, a candidate must collect the total number of signatures equal to at least 1% of the votes cast in the third congressional district for the party’s candidate for president in the 2012 General Election, rounded up to the next whole number, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.

That means that De La Cerda will have to collect at least 2,037 signatures. But the Secretary of States office has even more rules on the signatures.

Signatures are needed from at least eight different counties in the district. Signatures from each county must have at least two percent of the votes cast for president by the voters of that county in the 2012 General Election, rounded up to the next whole number. That would mean that De La Cerda would need at least 2,570 signatures for Polk County.

“My generation [Generation X] and the Millennials’ will be the one’s tasked with solving some of the most threatening problems our country has ever faced. We can no longer afford to be a country divided, red vs. blue, liberal vs. conservative,” De La Cerda said. “We must put party aside and do work! It will be up to all of us.”


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