“Tell Christie I think it’s a great idea,” [Senator Claire] McCaskill said to [U.S. Secretary of Agriculture] Tom Vilsack after a press conference at the ADM grain elevator in St. Louis. “Tell her I’ll come up and knock on some doors!”
McCaskill’s endorsement is not without some complications, and not just because Iowa’s caucus status make its state politics of national import.
Census results will force Iowa, like Missouri, to shed one of its congressional districts in 2012. That means if Vilsack, who recently left her day job, runs, she’ll have to challenge an incumbent — most likely U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, an eight-term Democrat and Missouri native who represents the Des Moines area.
McCaskill knows a thing or two about primaries; she successfully challenged Missouri’s incumbent Democratic governor in 2004. I doubt the backing of a neighboring state’s senator would count for much if Christie Vilsack ends up running against Boswell in the redrawn third Congressional district, but it would be an ironic shift in alliances. In early 2008, McCaskill endorsed Barack Obama for president, just when Hillary Clinton’s campaign was riding the momentum from winning the New Hampshire primary. Both Tom and Christie Vilsack had campaigned their hearts out for Clinton before the Iowa caucuses. Boswell had also endorsed Clinton for president and pledged his support to her as a superdelegate. He continued to back Clinton in the spring of 2008, even though he was under pressure to switch after Obama carried IA-03 in the Iowa caucuses.
Because she is from Mount Pleasant, Vilsack could decide to challenge Representative Dave Loebsack in the 2012 Democratic primary to represent the second Congressional district. However, my hunch is she won’t run for Congress at all if she doesn’t like the look of the new IA-03.
Share any thoughts about Iowa’s 2012 Congressional races in this thread. Can’t wait to see that map on Thursday morning.
MARCH 31 UPDATE: I stand corrected. The proposed IA-02 map is a dream come true for Christie Vilsack. It’s an empty, Democratic-leaning district containing Mount Pleasant. IA-03 is much less appealing, heading south and west from Polk County without any of the Democratic-leaning neighbors (Story, Jasper, Marshall).Continue Reading...