Iowa radio host Steve Deace may run for Senate if Rep. Steve King chooses to stay in the House.
The race for the seat left open by the retirement of Democratic incumbent Tom Harkin is expected to be messy. The nationally syndicated commentator, who considers himself a “conservative blowtorch,” put Karl Rove and Republican Gov. Terry Branstad on notice Thursday that no candidate endorsed by the establishment will have an easy path to the nomination.
Rove's American Crossroads has targeted the race, with an executive comparing King to Missouri's Todd Akin.
A possible run by Deace heightens the chances of a nasty primary in a state the GOP must win if it has any realistic chance of taking control of the Senate next year.
“I think that it’s Steve King's time to take the next step,” Deace said in an interview with Politico.com.
“Him running is sort of necessary to show that Karl Rove cannot pick our candidate.
If King decides not to run, then I think it’s very important that someone who actually shares the principles that have made King so popular with conservatives across Iowa runs for that seat.
"That would not be anyone attached to Terry Branstad or Karl Rove,” Deace said.
Deace isn’t the only Iowan thinking about a possible Senate run.
After Republican congressman Tom Latham announced he would not run, Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey said he is also considering a run.
Northey, who has been elected twice statewide, is considered one of the party’s most electable options.
He could be acceptable to the activist base and palatable to the establishment.
On a conference call from the Philippines Thursday, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Branstad favorite, told reporters that she “will take a serious look at it.”
All these impending decisions hinge on what King decides to do.
Those in the know expect him to make a run, especially with Latham sitting it out, but he said again this week that he’s still weighing his options.
One of the things that may dissuade King from committing to a Senate run is reluctance to give up his platform as the third-ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee for a race he knows will be tough to win.
Democrats have already gotten behind Rep. Bruce Braley.
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