Weekend open thread: Liberty movement missing in action edition

Here’s your weekend open thread: all topics welcome.

I’d like to hear views from the Bleeding Heartland community on a question that’s been on my mind lately, as the “Liberty” movement ceases to be the dominant force in the Republican Party of Iowa. Why haven’t more people from the large contingent of Ron Paul/Rand Paul admirers stepped up to run in this year’s Iowa Republican primaries?

Despite plenty of speculation, no one associated with Ron Paul’s presidential campaign went for Iowa’s first open U.S. Senate seat in 40 years. Why not? This opportunity won’t come around again soon, not with Senator Chuck Grassley already planning to seek a seventh term in 2016. Did fundraising concerns or some other factor keep Drew Ivers, David Fischer, or others from believing they could run a strong Senate campaign?

In Iowa’s open third Congressional district, none of the six Republican candidates publicly endorsed Ron Paul for president, as far as I know. Nor did any of the three Republicans running against Representative Dave Loebsack in IA-02.

Iowa’s most prominent “Liberty” candidate is Rod Blum in the open first Congressional district. There are a few Paulinistas running in GOP primaries for the Iowa House and Senate, but not as many as I would have expected, given the Liberty movement’s takeover of the Iowa GOP apparatus in 2012.

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IA-Sen news roundup: GOP heading for convention scenario?

It’s time for a new discussion thread on the campaign for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat. I’ve pulled together lots of news on the declared and potential Republican candidates after the jump.

Some candidates who have expressed interest may back off before the filing deadline next March, but if most of them follow through, it’s plausible that no Republican will receive 35 percent of the vote in the June 2014 primary. That would allow statewide GOP convention delegates to select a nominee to face Democrat Bruce Braley in the general election.

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IA-Sen: Harkin retiring (updated)

Terrible news for Iowa Democrats: Senator Tom Harkin told Tom Beaumont of the Associated Press that he will retire rather than seek re-election in 2014. Not only will there be an open seat at the top of the ticket, the Iowa Democratic Party won’t be able to count on Harkin’s millions to fund a decent coordinated GOTV campaign in a midterm election year. Even if Democrats manage to win that statewide race while Governor Terry Branstad’s also on the ballot, we will lose an Iowan in charge of a powerful Senate committee. Incoming Iowa Democratic Party Chair Tyler Olson has a difficult road ahead.

Representative Bruce Braley is likely to run for Harkin’s seat, and unless either Tom or Christie Vilsack is interested, the primary would probably be uncontested. The silver lining here is a chance to elect a woman to Congress in IA-01. Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum would be my first choice, but there are many capable Democratic women in those 20 counties.

An excerpt from Braley’s appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” this weekend is after the jump. I’ll post further updates there. UPDATE: Much more is below, including the statement from Harkin’s office.

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