Monday, January 28, 2013

Iowa Stubborn

The news this weekend that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) would not run for re-election in 2014 set off giddy hopes in Republican circles that they would pick up another easy Senate seat.  But so far, at least one of the folks who have tossed their hat into the ring is the kind of candidate who sounds like they’d take the Iowa seat down the rabbit hole of Tea Party hard-core wingers, giving the Democrats hope that they could hold on.

Among them is six-term Rep. Steve King, 63, a conservative from western Iowa who has represented about half of the state’s 99 counties. He’s who never ruled out a Senate bid even if it meant challenging Harkin. Moran believes the prospect of an open seat race would be appealing to his former boss.

For King, one GOP strategist said, the primary would be easier than the general election. A top party official speculated some Republicans would have reservations about running King in a statewide ticket.

Despite those misgivings about the outspoken King running on a statewide ticket, Moran thinks the party – both on a state and national level — might find it “refreshing to have Steve King at top of ticket to drive the message and definition of the party.”

Other speculated King is in a safe seat in conservative western and northwestern Iowa and could hold that seat for at least another 10 years.

“I’ve never known Steve King to sit back and be comfortable,” said Moran, a former GOP State Central Committee.

There are a lot of words I can think of to describe Rep. King, but “refreshing” isn’t one of them.  He is famous for shooting off his mouth with loopy talking points about everything from rape (he’s never heard of as rape-induced pregnancy) to immigration (he compared undocumented immigrants to dogs) to birth control (he thinks states can ban it).  No wonder the Iowa GOP is nervous about having him run statewide, even for them.  But in the primary, he could give the comparatively moderate Tom Latham a real run.

You would think that two election cycles in a row where sure-bet wins for the Republicans in the Senate were lost because the primaries gave them fringers would at least sink in, but apparently they’re convinced that they only lost because either it was a vast conspiracy by the blahs and ACORN, or their candidate wasn’t conservative enough.

HT to Steve M.

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