New Iowa House minority leader has big job ahead

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — New Democratic House Minority Leader Mark Smith is known for being a soft-spoken presence in the Iowa Capitol, but colleagues say he’ll bring a quiet persistence to preparing for the 2014 election cycle.

The Marshalltown lawmaker was recently elected to the leadership post after longtime leader Kevin McCarthy announced he was stepping down. Smith’s top priority in the months ahead will be recruiting candidates and fundraising for 2014.

Democrats would need to maintain their 47 seats — including McCarthy’s Des Moines district — and pick up four more to get back in the majority. Without a presidential race on the top of the ticket next year, getting voters out could be a challenge.

Still, Smith, who previously served as an assistant minority leader, says he likes his chances.

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