# Tom Tauke

IA-04: Steve King doesn't seem worried--or does he?

U.S. Representative Steve King’s clout has taken big hits lately. He won his ninth term in Congress by only a 3.3 percent margin in Iowa’s most conservative district (partisan voter index of R+11). Once-staunch allies like Governor Kim Reynolds sought to distance themselves from his toxic racism. The leader of his caucus stripped him of all House committee assignments.

Three other Republicans announced plans to seek the 2020 nomination in the fourth district, and campaign finance reports filed on April 15 confirmed that many heavy hitters are backing King’s best-known challenger, State Senator Randy Feenstra.

The incumbent’s recent fundraising and campaign spending would suggest that he’s not concerned about his re-election prospects.

But in other ways, King is working diligently to maintain support among the conservatives he needs to continue his political career. Fortunately for him, taxpayers are bankrolling much of that outreach.

Continue Reading...

IA-03: David Young has the Congressional insider vote locked up

Ever since David Young first revealed his plans to run for the U.S. Senate, I’ve had trouble understanding how a professional Congressional staffer could win a Republican primary in Iowa. By all accounts Young is a bright, capable, hard-working Iowa native, but who is supposed to be his constituency? Candidates who have spent years building networks among conservative activists here will have a natural advantage over Young, who worked in Washington for 17 years before moving back to Iowa in 2013.

After Representative Tom Latham announced his retirement, Young switched from the U.S. Senate to the third district Congressional race, but that doesn’t change the fundamental weakness of his candidacy. He may be the contender best-prepared to work in Congress, but I doubt that’s what primary voters are looking for. When Young joined the Senate field, Robert Cramer praised him as “a ‘man of integrity,’ trustworthy and an ‘across-the-board conservative.'” But even though Cramer has known Young for decades and thinks highly of him, he’s not backing him in IA-03. On the contrary, Cramer himself is seeking the GOP nomination for Latham’s seat.

This week Young’s campaign announced its most prominent endorsements so far: former U.S. Representatives Tom Tauke and Jim Ross Lightfoot. I’ve posted the press release after the jump. Tauke represented northeast Iowa and hasn’t served in Congress since losing the 1990 U.S. Senate race to Tom Harkin. Lightfoot represented parts of southwest Iowa that are in the current IA-03, but he hasn’t been in Congress since losing to Harkin in 1996. He was last seen in this state blowing a big lead over Tom Vilsack in the 1998 gubernatorial race. Following that debacle, Lightfoot “became a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., [and] is now owner of Texas-based Lightfoot Strategies, a government relations consulting company.” Hard to see him having any pull with the Iowa Republican base today.

Continue Reading...