Skip to comments.Steve King for Senate in 2008 (Iowa editorial)
Posted on 06/23/2007 11:26:31 AM PDT by Clintonfatigued
David Yepsen's column this weekend suggests that Republicans do not have a credible challenger to Harkin for 2008. Yepsen points out:
Yet so far, no big-name Republicans seem to be making the moves needed to challenge him. Only obscure names are heard. Could the ghosts of Bill Scherle (1974), Roger Jepsen (1984), Tom Tauke (1990), Jim Lightfoot (1996) and Greg Ganske (2002) be scaring off credible GOP challengers? Could 2008 be the year that Harkin, finally, gets the same sort of free ride from Republicans that Democrats have been giving Chuck Grassley for 20 years?
Of course in Republican circles the buzz has been that Congressman Steve King was preparing to run against Harkin in '08. Yepsen suggests that since King has a safe house seat (in western Iowa were Dems are as rare as buffalo) that he would be content to hold the seat indefinitely.
I agree with Krusty! I am one who believes, or maybe it is simply hope, that King will take up the challenge. Unlike Grassley, Harkin has had close races. Conservatives in Iowa are itching for this fight. King vs Harkin would rally the base like never before. King is no lightweight (I mean Lightfoot). He is charismatic and controversial but he would mobilize conservative Republicans across the state.
(Excerpt) Read more at hawkeyegop.com ...
Steve King has emerged as Iowa’s leading advocate for border security and national sovereignty, the most important domestic issues facing us. He would make a fine Senator. Also, he is the strongest candidate who could be found for the GOP.
In addition, Tom Harkin has been a destructive force for the country. King’s candidacy combined with the 2008 Presidential election would rally Iowa’s conservative grass roots like never before.
Indeed it would.
The only way to defeat Commie Tommy, the socialist warrior, is with a conservative warrior. And Steve King is that.
...and you know, with some MiGs over Vietnam.
One small error with Yepsen’s column...
Roger Jepsen was the incumbent in ‘84. A scandal-plagued incumbent who should have won handily in a true GOP year.
But Harkin beat him while Reagan carried the state.
But the rest of the story is correct. The GOP has put up some first-rate challengers to Harkin but they really haven’t come close to beating him.
Steve King is great. He is a good man who does good for Iowa. He isn’t one of the establishment sell outs. This is why he will not run for Senate.
I hope he does. He can do more in the Senate than in the House.
Would it be bad of me to hope Nussle runs? We don’t wanna break with our tradition of ex-congressmen running for Governor AND Senator then vanishing forever now do we ??
Not really, but if he couldn’t defeat a non-incumbent leftist, how would he defeat a longtime incumbent?
Now that would be a great race. Steve King is the right man for the job.
It was a joke about Nussle, saying this would be a good way to send him into political exile...
I don’t think we will get rid of Harkin until he is representing a MUCH warmer constituency.
I couldn’t tell the date of the blog entry when I went there. I find it curious that it references Krusty, and we all know he shut down the first week of May, so I’m thinking this is an old blog entry.
Steve King doesn’t owe anybody anything, and he shouldn’t let David Yepsen lure him into a knife fight. Yepsen and his bosses at the Red Star would like nothing better than to send Steve back home, so it’s not likely he would get neutral coverage from them. They’d be pushing Harkin all the way.
Whatever Steve does, I’ll be there behind him with my checkbook and my tennis shoes for pain free door knocking.
All of Harkin’s challengers since 1984 have been first-tier. Harkin hasn’t run for reelection in a Presidential year since he faced Jim Ross Lightfoot in 1996. Many of us thought Lightfoot would finally bring him down, as he hailed from the same bailiwick as Harkin (Lightfoot won Harkin’s House seat in 1984), but he still came up short (not helped by the fact that Clintoon was carrying the state), though held him to his closest margin.
These are the results of his 4 Senate runs:
Harkin-(Senator) Roger Jepsen (1984) 56-44%
Harkin-(Congressman) Tom Tauke (1990) 54-45%
Harkin-(Congressman) Jim Ross Lightfoot (1996) 52-47%
Harkin-(Congressman) Greg Ganske (2002) 54-44%
I think if Harkin had had to run in ‘94 against Lightfoot, he probably would’ve been defeated by around 51-49% and Lightfoot would still be the junior Senator today. It was the thinking in ‘02 that Dr. Ganske could bring down Harkin because of the fact he accomplished his greatest feat in ‘94 in bringing down 36-year incumbent Democrat Rep. Neal Smith (but he only performed slightly better than Sen. Jepsen, who did the worst against Harkin).
I think that the alien amnesty issue, Steve King’s popularity with both northwestern Iowa and the conservative grass roots, and Hitlery being the Rodent moninee will be the right combination.
It’s the other parts of Iowa I’d worry about. The western end of IA has always been Republican. It’s the eastern squish end (Dubuque, the Quad Cities, Iowa City) and Des Moines that is far more iffy.
True. But Dubuque is not reliably Democratic. Lots of pro-life Bavarian Catholics live there, and Tom Harkin has been pushing aggressively for fetal stem cell research. Des Moines has a growing ring of suburbs which is increasingly willing to vote Republican. And while western Iowa is usually Republican (though it elected Rodent Congressmen during most of the 1970’s & 1980’s), Steve King would have hometown appeal, generating enthusiasm that the other GOP nominees didn’t generate.
A lot of them will vote Republican for president in 08, especially if a certain person is the Democrat nominee.
Also important is taking back both the 1st and 2nd (and the 3rd would be nice, too) House districts. On the Politics1 site, former Baseball player Cal Eldred is listed as a possible (but undeclared) challenger to the 2nd’s Dave Loebsack and University of Dubuque President Jeff Bullock as a challenger to Bruce Braley in the 1st. Both should be premier targets.
Leonard Boswell’s health and age (he’ll be 75 at the start of the next Congress) should be an issue in the 3rd, though he’s not a moonbat as the freshmen reps are. One warning bell for him, the last time a Democrat ran for reelection at that age was Neal Smith in 1994, and he lost. His potential challenger is newly-elected State Sen. Brad Zaun. Zaun was the only new Republican elected to the IA Senate last November.
I actually goofed on the Western IA thing, at least with respect to the ‘70s and early ‘80s (when Berkley Bedell and Harkin had the then-5th and 6th seats — for some reason, I don’t know why I kept thinking Harkin was from the central IA seat below Neal Smith’s). IA in the ‘70s was more like the Twilight Zone. Following the Watergate election, almost the entire delegation, House and Senate, was rodent (except for Chuck Grassley, who barely won the open seat in ‘74), with a RINO liberal Governor, Bob Ray. It took until the ‘90s for the seats to revert back to their historic norms (and now, of course, ‘06 was almost like a mini-Watergate in IA).
Iowa hasn’t been great for us since the ‘80s, where the GOP was chronically underperforming at the Presidential level. When Reagan carried it by a paltry 53-45% in ‘84 (I mean, more urban IL gave him 56%), Bush, Sr. lost it by a humiliating 55-45% to Dukakis, and got all of 37% (to Clintoon’s 43%) in 1992. Dole got just under 40% in ‘96, and Dubya lost it in 2000 by about 4,000 votes (though it was the best a Republican had done since 1984). And, of course, when he ran for reelection in ‘04, he carried it for the first time in 20 years, and by a still rather paltry 10,000 votes (and still got just under 50%).
Hillary or Obama (from neighboring IL), I would not rule out being able to be potentially competitive here (but it probably doesn’t help them that with the Dems in complete control of state government, led by a liberal Blonde dunce named Chet Culver, that might turn out a net positive for us).
Harkin has never won by a considerable majority in Iowa; many times it has been down well below 5%, whereas Charles Grassley has won most of his races by almost getting 75% of the vote in Iowa. It would take a conservative with enough balls and personal strength and faith to face the overwhelming onslaught of venom that will be unleashed by the Harkin campaign. If Iowa (r)epublicans put up another RINO like Ganske, get ready for 6 more years of "Senator Mailbox". (Ask an Iowan what "Senator Mailbox" means about Harkin.)
I don't see Brad as being enough of a Pit Bull to pull it off, but he'd be in the middle of his own Senate term, so would actually not be risking very much, except his personal time and energy.
Allow me to venture an educated guess that he uses quite liberally the franking privilege.
Well, Ganske wasn’t a pit bull, and he was successful in taking down the similarly over-the-hill Neal Smith. But the question is how active does Boswell appear to be publicly ? The contrast between the youthful Zaun and Boswell should certainly help the former (and as you said, even if he doesn’t win, it might help to position himself to succeed Boswell when he retires or leaves office feet-first).
Loebsack represents a Democratic district that was used to RINO Jim Leach. I caught Braley on a C-SPAN debate last year. Admittedly, his opponent was pathetic, but Braley was also very, very smooth.
Conceivably we could take Boswell’s seat if he retires. But it’s hard to see anyone beating Harkin. If King ran, he would definitely excite conservatives, but he’d also lose — and the House would lose one of its gutsiest conservatives. Is it completely certain that Harkin is running again, however?
Ganske was definitely lame, but Harkin does have the Iowa electorate’s number. As you say, welfare-dependent seniors.
That’s about it.
Loebsack is a moonbat of the highest order, a PoliSci college prof. All of the districts in the state are designed to be competitive. The last time a Democrat won that district was Ed Mezvinsky, who won in 1972, and was carried by Watergate to a 2nd term (over Leach, in his first run). The district is not likely to send this guy for the long haul over more centrist opponents. He just screams the type of 1936/1958/1964/1974 one-termer victor flukes in bad GOP years.
I’m not one who believes Harkin is invincible. His margins have never been remarkable (unlike Grassley, who wins in landslides and hasn’t faced a credible challenger since he knocked off incumbent John Culver (the current Gov’s father) in 1980). It’s just a matter of finding, and giving full support to, a credible opponent. Harkin (as well as Grassley) have been in Congress since ‘74, and he will have spent half his life in the House and Senate. Is it certain he will run again ? I wouldn’t bet against it. I don’t think Harkin or many of the other long-termer Congressbots would know what to do with themselves if they retired. No, he’ll stay until he is retired by the electorate or leaves feet-first. Either way, it can’t come soon enough.
I’d be surprised if he retired.
Harkin is scum, but if he doesn’t quit,
he’ll go out feet-first.
About Loebsack, I’m not surprised he’s far-left. Most Rat congressmen (and senators) from Iowa have been far-left for decades. But I’d be astounded if he lost his seat. Freshmen tend to work hard to keep their seats, and, by the way, nearly all of the Rat freshmen elected in ‘74 kept theirs. Iowans are used to having people more liberal than they are in office. They tend to accept it.
Yeah, it’s an economic basket case. It’s also antiwar.
Those are major reasons why I think Harkin is unbeatable. It’s a shame, because he’s bad even by Rat standards.
There was one, Michael Blouin, that I know of that was pro-life. But like Mezvinsky, he lasted just two terms and was defeated by Tom Tauke in 1978. Blouin ran against Chet Culver for Governor in the Dem primary last year (interestingly, Blouin succeeded Chet’s dad when he moved up from the House to the Senate in ‘74). But still, I think this class is almost exactly like the 1964 class.
In fact, the defeat of Leach by Loebsack was identical to what happened in ‘64, when liberal Democrat (and PoliSci college prof) John Schmidhauser won the 1st in 1964 over liberal RINO incumbent Fred Schwengel. Schwengel came back and took his seat back from Schmidhauser in 1966 (but Schwengel was vulnerable in the GOP primary to Conservative challengers, like David Stanley). Schwengel was eventually beaten 6 years later by Mezvinsky.
The big question is, will 2008 be like 1966 — or 1976 ? Iowans, like the Coloradoans, were already tiring of their flirtation with the liberal Democrats, and started moving back to the GOP again in the late ‘70s.
Despite the downturn in the farming economy, it was really just the Presidential candidates that suffered. The GOP still did well in the other offices at the federal level. After the rash of Democrats that swept the state in the ‘70s, aside from Harkin, only 1 new Democrat was elected to federal office in the ‘80s (Dave Nagle in 1986), and 1 in the ‘90s (Boswell). The defeat of Leach and the seizure of Nussle’s seat was the greatest Dem success in the state since 1974.
That’s true. Iowa Republicans did OK for quite a while — until ‘04 and ‘06. They’ve now lost the entire legislature, and I don’t think they’ll win it back for several years. You already know my gloomy assessment of the U.S. House and Senate races.
I was referring to the general results across the country. The class of ‘74 were almost all re-elected.
I think we’ll get back the IA legislature sooner rather than later. The current Governor is a moron (with some ethics problems), and rode the ‘06 anti-GOP disaster to victory. They never can seem to reign in their liberal excesses or predilections towards corruption (and especially with no GOP majority to blame or stop them). The state got fed up with John Culver statewide after a single term in the Senate, and I expect Chet will meet a similar fate in 2010.
Never assume the voters are intelligent. I’m sure it’s true that the Iowa Rats, like most Rats nationally, have a hard time controlling themselves. But since they control the media, they may not have to.
Leach was no big loss, since he basically was a Dem anyway.
I went to look up what you said, and you were correct. I don’t know why for some reason I keep assuming the bulk of the freshman class in ‘74 were defeated (whereas the ‘64 class suffered numerous casualties) shortly. I tend to focus on those 36 (listed below) that defeated sitting GOP incumbents:
John Krebs over Bob Mathias (lost 1978)
Jim Lloyd over Victor Veysey (lost 1980)
Tim Wirth over Don Brotzman (GOP never recovered seat to date)
Elliott Levitas over Ben Blackburn (lost 1984)
Marty Russo over Bob Hanrahan (seat never recovered)
Abner Mikva over Samuel Young (resigned 1979, seat won by GOP special election)
Floyd Fithian over Earl Landgrebe (seat recovered 1994)
David Evans over Bill Bray (defeated 1980)
Phil Hayes over Roger Zion (defeated for renomination 1976)
Phil Sharp over David Dennis (seat eventually merged with Fithian seat, recovered 1994)
Andrew Jacobs, Jr. over Bill Hudnut (seat never recovered)
Tom Harkin over Bill Scherle (seat recovered 1984)
Berkley Bedell over Wiley Mayne (seat recovered 1986)
Paul Tsongas over Paul Cronin (seat never recovered)
Jim Blanchard over Bob Huber (seat eliminated 1982)
Max Baucus over Dick Shoup (seat not recovered until at-large, 1996)
Jim Santini over David Towell (at-large, divided in 1982, northern area recovered that year, Las Vegas seat, 1994)
Jim Florio over John Hunt (seat never recovered)
Bill Hughes over Charles Sandman (seat recovered 1994)
Andrew Maguire over Bill Widnall (defeated in 1980)
Helen Meyner over John Maraziti (defeated in 1978)
Tom Downey over James Grover (defeated in 1992)
Jerome Ambro over Angelo Roncallo (defeated in 1980)
Ed Pattison over Carleton King (defeated in 1978)
Stephen Neal over Vinegar Bend Mizell (seat recovered 1994)
Bill Hefner over Earl Ruth (seat recovered 1996)
Glenn English over John Happy Camp (seat recovered 1994)
James Weaver over John Dallenback (seat never recovered)
John Jenrette over Edward Young (defeated in 1980)
Marilyn Lloyd over LaMar Baker (seat recovered 1994)
Harold Ford, Sr. over Dan Kuykendall (seat never recovered)
Jack Hightower over Bob Price (defeated in 1984)
Herbert Harris over Stan Parris (defeated in 1980)
Joseph Fisher over Joel Broyhill (defeated in 1980)
Al Baldus over Vernon Thomson (defeated in 1980)
Fr. Bob Cornell over Harold Froelich (defeated in 1978)
—only 1 was defeated for renomination in 1976 (Hayes) (and none in the 1976 general election)
—4 were defeated in 1978 (Krebs, Meyner, Pattison, Cornell)
—8 were defeated in 1980 (Lloyd, Evans, Maguire, Ambro, Jenrette, Harris, Fisher, Baldus)
—2 were defeated in 1984 (Levitas, Hightower)
—1 was defeated in 1992 (Downey)
—2 were defeated later for renomination (Russo, Evans)
—2 resigned (and seats picked up by GOP in special) (Mikva, English)
—10 retired later (Sharp, Jacobs, Bedell, Santini, Hughes, Neal, Hefner, Weaver, Lloyd, Ford)
—2 retired and elected Governor (Blanchard, Florio)
—1 retired and defeated in run for Senate (Fithian)
—4 retired and elected to Senate (Wirth, Harkin, Tsongas, Baucus)
—7 have never been recovered (Wirth, Russo, Jacobs, Tsongas, Florio, Weaver, Ford)
—2 were eliminated by redistricting after the 1980 census (Fithian, Blanchard)
Unfortunately, Loebsack makes Leach look like Tancredo.
Amen. I hope that Steve King runs against Harkin in 2008, since he would probably be our strongest candidate and would be make a great Senator.
Retaking the IA-01 will be tough, since it only gave President Bush 46% in 2004 and its freshman member is a pro. I think we need Jim Nussle to reclaim his seat for us to have a chance.
The IA-02 gave President Bush 44% in 2004, and taking it back would be very difficult even against the moonbat incumbent. Cal Eldred would at least have some name ID and connections to national contributors, but that seat was held by the RINO Leach in spite of, not because of, his GOP affiliation.
The IA-03 gave President Bush 50% in 2004 (he actually carried it by a couple of hundred votes), and, as you said, Boswell is quite old and not in the best of health. Rather than freshman state senator Brad Zaun, I think that Boswell’s 2004 challenger (Lombardo?) should take another crack at it. The IA-03 should be an easier target for us than the IA-01 and IA-02.
The class of ‘74 was very politically savvy. They used incumbency quite effectively; also knew how to present themselves to conservative voters. The political climate of ‘76 (post-Watergate, Nixon pardon, etc.) also helped them. In addition, it may have been hard to find strong Republicans to run against these people in ‘76.
Unfortunately, the same factors may well apply next year to the new Rats elected in ‘06.
As you suggest, a district that voted 44 percent for Bush in ‘04 is not competitive for the GOP, absent an incumbent. 44 percent is what Bush got in CALIFORNIA, too!
We won’t know for sure whether they are more like the ‘64 class or ‘74 class until next November. But this President and the leadership aren’t making it easy to send these folks packing (but I think we’ll send a few back, at the very least). I still don’t believe, either, that the people in these rural Iowa districts will be comfortable in the long run with members that vote for San Francisco extremists over local values.
It’s possible for Iowans (or anyone else) to be uncomfortable with a congressman but still vote for him.
Definitely Bush and the Senate leadership (I feel somewhat better about the House guys and some of the presidential candidates) are making it hard for us.
I assume we’ll take out Mahoney in Florida and Lampson in Texas — but those were freak winners with almost last-minute opponents, running against a background of sleaze (in Foley district) or alleged sleaze (in the DeLay district).
After those near-”gimme” districts, I’d say we have a relatively good chance to take back the former seats of:
Jeb Bradley in NH, Don Sherwood in PA, Melissa Hart in PA (only IF Lynn Swann runs AND campaigns competently), Bob Ney in OH, and Mark Green in WI.
In addition, we have a shot at 2 or 3 seats that the Rats already had: Marshall and Barrow in GA, and, if he retires, Boswell in IA.
That still leaves us several short of a majority. Even if, against the odds, we hold every seat we have now.
We badly need to expand the field. And make sure we have excellent candidates for even the most vulnerable Rat seats.
Actually, scratch the Bradley seat in NH. New England is probably gone in ‘08.
Add to competitive list:
the former Jim Ryun seat in KS.
Also, we’d have a shot in SD IF Johnson retires from the Senate and Herseth vacates the House seat in order to run as his replacement.
New Hampshire hasn’t had 2 rodents occupying both its House seats since 1912. They both lost after a single term in 1914. Carol Shea-Porter is a major league moonbat, and she is toast. But I’d prefer someone other than Jeb Bradley to run. Paul Hodes has a better chance in the 2nd, but Democrats are not natural fits for office in NH. They won total control of the legislature, too, for the first time since about 1922, and I don’t expect that to last, either.
Even in Maine, we’re only one seat down from controlling the State Senate (and it is, momentarily, the most heavily GOP legislative state in New England). I don’t know if we’ll be particularly competitive with Allen’s 1st district open House seat, but we did win it in 1994. A nice ugly ‘Rat primary battle would help us immensely.