Independent U.S. Senate candidate Rick Stewart begins his campaign bicycling throughout Iowa

by Bob Beach

Allamakee County was one of the first in Iowa to receive an in-person visit by a rather unique candidate who wants to fill the seat in the U.S. Senate being vacated by long-time Senator Tom Harkin. Rick Stewart, who is running as an Independent in the general election later this year, is taking a unique approach to campaigning in Iowa - he's planning to visit all 99 Iowa counties on his bicycle. As of June 5, Stewart has visited four Iowa counties, logging approximately 220 miles on his bicycle with "only" 4,780 to go, according to his Facebook page.
Stewart, age 62, was born in Postville and raised in Maquoketa after the age of eight. He founded Frontier Herbs, now a $40 million business with 300 employees, and earned a bachelor of arts degree from Coe College in Cedar Rapids and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Why the bicycle? Stewart is running his campaign "on the cheap," by any modern campaign standard. He says his campaign will cost no more than $4,999, as campaigns spending more than $5,000 are required to register with the Federal Election Commission.
"You can't buy me," Stewart said in an interview at The Standard Newspaper office Monday, June 2. "I'm not for sale. I'm also not buying any votes."
Beyond that, Stewart is having fun. "It's fun to fight a fair fight with a corrupt establishment," Stewart said, adding that Democrats and Republicans aren't clever, they're just entrenched. "I enjoy fighting - I don't need the money. I'm going to win this election."
How does he think he's going to do that? Stewart says he's going to win the election by spending time meeting people and getting people involved and interested in supporting an Independent candidate.
If nothing else, Stewart says he'll be in a lot better physical shape than his opponents at the end of the campaign.