IA-04: Super-PAC will spend heavily to "protect" Steve King--despite own poll showing him way ahead

The things some people choose to spend money on.

A "group of investors loyal to presidential candidate Ted Cruz" announced on April 27 that they have created the Reignite Iowa super-PAC "to help protect Iowa conservative Steve King" from "Republican Establishment" efforts to remove the seven-term U.S. House incumbent. Jason Noble reported for the Des Moines Register that the super-PAC "will support King with direct mail, TV, radio and digital advertising in the district, with a budget anticipated in the 'high six figures.'"

Yet a poll commissioned by the super-PAC suggests King had a four to one lead over State Senator Rick Bertrand, less than two months before the GOP primary.

Here's the full April 27 press release from the brand-new super-PAC:

Pro-Cruz Supporters Launch Iowa SuperPac

Reignite Iowa aims to protect conservative Steve King in primary challenge

For Immediate Release:

Purcellville, Virginia – In response to a primary challenger backed by Iowa’s Republican establishment to run against Congressman Steve King, today a group of investors loyal to presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced the launch of a new SuperPAC – Reignite Iowa (www.ReigniteIowa.com).

The PAC was formed to support the re-election of Congressman Steve King who endorsed Ted Cruz for President and was instrumental in the Texas Senator’s winning the Iowa Caucuses earlier this year.

“Reignite Iowa is dedicated to ensuring that Iowans have a consistent conservative voice in Congress,” said Rick Tyler, spokesman for the SuperPAC. Steve King has unceasingly stood up for conservatives, now its time for conservatives to stand up for him.

Tyler went on to point out that Congressman King has been taking on the liberals in Washington and has been willing to even take on his own party, that’s why Reignite Iowa will do everything it can to make sure Steve King can keep fighting for the people of Iowa.

Reignite Iowa released a poll showing King’s support was 68% overall of likely voters compared to challenger Rick Bertrand at 16%.

Reignite America wants Iowa voters to know King’s track record of fighting for small business and the agricultural industry by reducing interference from Washington in the form of burdensome regulations. King is a member of the House Agriculture Committee, he helped write the 2014 Farm Bill, which was passed into law in providing a more predictable agriculture policy for Iowa farmers.

King was an immensely helpful surrogate for Cruz before the Iowa caucuses, so I understand the gratitude. But why spend a high six-figure amount helping him run up the score against a challenger he is likely to crush without additional help? Why don't these "investors loyal to presidential candidate Ted Cruz" donate to some charities that reflect King's values, or do some other useful thing with their money?

I enclose below the polling memo produced by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research for Reignite Iowa. If you believe in their results (and I do, given King's high name recognition and popularity in conservative circles), the incumbent doesn't need protecting. He certainly doesn't need outsiders to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in independent expenditures on his behalf. The irony is, King's key talking point against Bertrand is portraying his challenger as a puppet of major donors.

What do you think the super-PAC donors hope to accomplish with their unnecessary big expenditures in IA-04? I wonder whether some self-dealing will be involved, as when Nick Ryan directed spending by a super-PAC backing Rick Santorum to his own company, Global Intermediate. Alternatively, perhaps these loyal investors will generate business for direct mail or advertising vendors run by their friends. There's recent precedent for that in Iowa.

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