IA-04: I'll believe it when I see it

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.

  • Boswell?

    Isn’t Leonard Boswell’s seat a more likely option for Vilsack? Seems as if Loebsack would have a pretty solid base with loyal supporters so Vilsack going that route doesn’t seem like a given.  

  • Loebsack

    Dave should volunteer to run in the fourth (snark)  Take one for the team Dave.  

    Vilsack should probably just sit the election cycle out or make a decision fairly quickly, all this district shopping isn’t going to come across well.  

  • A few thoughts.

    This notion that Christie is in a better position to beat Latham is odd to me. If there is a democrat that can carry rural south west iowa, its clearly Boz. He is aggressive and you know they’ve been preparing for Latham all this time anyway. I say let it happen and see where the chips fall.

    I’m also generally against D primaries unless there is just cause. But in a safe district IF Christie wants to go for it in ia02, she’ll have the support to do it and no one is going to fall all over themselves to protect Loebsack.

    If Dems ever had a chance to dethrone a King, now is the chance! She could win a solid D base, large swaths of I’s, have the money to build a solid ground game up there in a way we haven’t seen in years (decades?). Plus i think there is a real shot a those business minded moderate Rs who are use to Latham and do not like King at all. Plus King cant help himself to say something terrible about her during the campaign that goes over the line. Driving I’s further away & exploding the D base into an organizing/voting frenzy.

    District shopping happens all the time. No one really cares about that. Its a one day story at the beginning of the campaign and then we’ll all move on. She’s been chomping at the bit for so long teasing her run, so i don’t see her holding out till 2014.

    • agree

      if IA-03 consisted of the DSM metro and surrounding counties, then you could argue about who’s the best candidate to run against Latham.

      With this configuration, Boswell has a better chance than Vilsack of beating Latham. I would still give Latham the edge (and it gives me no joy to say that).

    • Dirty little secret

      The dirty little secret of the new 3rd is that it is not really a southwest Iowa district. It’s a Des Moines district.

      If you take Polk, Dallas and Warren together–you arrive at somewhere in the neighborhood of 542,000 people. That’s somewhere around 71% of the total district population.

      If I were to put on my campaign stragetist hat, I’d say you need the candidate who can play the best in those metro counties and be willing to cede a lot of the rural territory to Latham.

      I don’t want to say for sure whether that would be Vilsack or Boswell, but it’d be silly to pick your candidate based on who can win in Mt. Ayr.  

  • Why do you think Loebsack is weak?

    I’ve yet to read any facts, anything substantial from this website that validates a true weakness. This is the 2nd post that seemingly salivates with eagerness for a Vilsack v. Loebsack primary in IA-02.  

    Furthermore, Loebsack has won Lee & Des Moines counties for the past 3 election cycles, Jefferson the last 2 cycles, all southern counties.

    To reiterate, it is stupid to primary another Democrat. It’s especially stupid when the Republicans are further bankrupting the country and trying desperately to obliterate our Social Security & Medicare programs.

    A Vilsack run in IA-02 will only fracture the party in the district. Is that your aim?

    If you folks in Des Moines don’t have a dog in this fight, stay out of it.


    • not "salivating"

      just stating my opinion that I do not expect Vilsack to run against Steve King. I expect her to run in the district where she has the best chance of ending up in Congress.

      • What about Michael Libbie's claim

        to have discussed the matter with Vilsack, C. and his suggestion of a Vilsack, C. – King match up found here: http://insightadvertising.type…

        • not clear whether he got that idea

          for her, or whether she merely indicated that she is thinking about Congress, and he suggested King would be a good target. Today he writes,

          I think the Vilsack vs. Kingrace will happen and told you that on February 20 after I visited with Mrs. Vilsach at a function in Guthrie County.

          Here’s Libbie on February 20:

          The stories have been going around for…years.  There was speculation that Christi, who is wildly popular in Iowa, would run against Sen. Charles Grassley.  That didn’t happen.  In recent months the speculation has been that she would run against Congressman Leonard Boswell forcing a primary.  I don’t think so.  The Iowa Democrats are not  looking to divide and Boswell has shown that he can take on some big names…and win.  […]  So…where else might Mrs. Vilsack look?  How about a run at Steve King in the current 5th District?  It would do two things…eliminate an embarrassment to Iowa (sorry Tea Party & “Birther” friends) and Iowa would elect, for the first time, a woman to congress.   Hmmmm….

    • Lee County

      Loebsack doesn’t earn that support in Lee County, maybe his support to fund different educational projects in Donnellson does come in handy however.  

  • Christie in the 4th

    I grew up in Kossuth County which is now going to be a part of King’s district and just speaking from my parents view – no one wants King as their Congressman.  When I brought it up to them they kept saying how everyone they know thinks King is an idiot and would love Christie to be their member of Congress.  My parents hang out with NRA lifetime member crowd too so I was pretty interested to hear that.  Christie has built up a lot of good will with people in North Central/Northwest Iowa.  

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