Citing “a Democratic source in the Hawkeye State,” Nathan Gonzales blogged at the Rothenberg Political Report that former First Lady Christie Vilsack “is likely” to run against Steve King in Iowa’s new fourth Congressional district. Vilsack “has not yet made a final decision,” according to this unnamed source.
Sounds to me like an Iowa Democrat wants to show Vilsack how favorably a campaign against Mr. “10 Worst” would be received. However, I would be very surprised to see Vilsack run in the state’s most Republican-leaning district, rather than in the Democratic-leaning second district in southeast Iowa. If she won a primary against Dave Loebsack, she would be almost assured of winning the general election in IA-02.
On the other hand, the new IA-04, containing 39 counties in northwest, north-central and northeast Iowa, is less of a hopeless cause for Democrats than King’s current district. John Kerry won just over 44 percent of the vote in the counties that will be in IA-04, and Obama took just over 48 percent of the vote there.
If Democrats do recruit a strong candidate in the new IA-04, there will be plenty of small-dollar donors and volunteers willing to help retire King. But King has passionate supporters too, far beyond heavily Republican northwest Iowa.
Spin your own 2012 Congressional election scenario in this thread.
P.S.: Suzy Khimm of Mother Jones asked King this week about a Republican proposal to raise the qualifying age for Social Security:
Not every House Republican seemed so excited about [Senator Lindsey] Graham’s plan. Even on the party’s right flank, some members seemed wary of tackling Social Security, long described as the untouchable “third rail” of politics. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a well-known flamethrower within the party, demurred when asked about the issue. “It’s a delicate thing,” King said. “I represent perhaps the most senior congressional district in America. I’m not in a position where I can speak about [Social Security reform] publicly.”
According to the National Journal, 16.8 percent of the residents in King’s current district are at least 65 years old; that makes IA-05 the 18th “grayest” district in the country. The current IA-04 is the 37th “grayest,” with about 15.9 percent of residents at least 65 years old. I don’t know the exact figure for the new IA-04.