Will Steve King be the Fifth Sitting GOP Cong. to Lose to Harkin?
by Jonathan Singer, Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 07:05:33 PM EST
First it was Bill Scherle, the then incumbent Republican Congressman who Tom Harkin dispatched back in 1974. Then it was Tom Tauke, who as a sitting GOP Representative lost in his bid to challenge by then Senator Harkin in 1990. In 1996 it was Jim Ross Lightfoot's turn to play the role of the sitting GOP Congressman to lose to Harkin, and in 2002 it was time for Republican Rep. Greg Gansketo to lose to Harkin. In fact, it's as if a run against Harkin is where sitting Republican members of Congress from Iowa go to end their careers.
It looks like Iowa Republican Rep. Tom Latham, who was rumored to be looking at a run earlier this summer, isn't edging any closer to mounting a challenge against Harkin. That seems to leave Steve King to become Congressman number five to lose to Harkin -- and King isn't doing much to tamp down speculation.
Iowa 5th Congressman Steve King will likely announce who he'll support for president in 2008 before he'll decide on his own political future.
Republican King said he's undecided on whether he'll give up the seat he's held for three terms for a run at the U.S. Senate. The senate seat held by Democrat Tom Harkin will be before voters in 11 months.
King said it would be an expensive proposition to run for the Senate, and he likes serving Iowans in the U.S. House. But he acknowledged he gets lots of support from Iowa Republicans to pursue another office, either the senate or governorship in 2010.
Trust me, I'm not wishing a tough or long 11 months for Harkin. Nevertheless, it wouldn't be so bad to see him lure another Republican Congressman to his defeat this cycle. Harkin is looking as strong as ever, with more than $3 million in the bank and an approval spread of 58 percent positive/37 percent negative according to SurveyUSA last month -- his best showing according to the pollster in two and a half years. King, on the other hand, has raised less than $200,000 so far this cycle, has just $114,624 in the bank and is sitting on more than $21,000 in debts.
It's worth noting that a decision to retire from the House and run for the Senate by King wouldn't provide House Democrats with a tremendous pick up opportunity. The district he currently represents, Iowa's fifth, leans about 8 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential elections, according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index. That said, every other open seat House Republicans must defend, even in GOP-leaning districts, makes it harder for the party to hold its other seats. So a King run for Senate, which would likely prove futile, could actually be a bit of bad news for the GOP as a whole.