Skip to comments.Christie Vilsack likely to take on Steve King ‘It will be a holy war’
Posted on 04/19/2011 12:11:27 PM PDT by iowamark
Christie Vilsack, the wife of Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, is likely to challenge GOP Rep. Steve King, according to several sources familiar with her thinking.
Vilsack has been considering a congressional bid for months, but two Democrats with knowledge of the former Iowa first ladys planning say she has narrowed her options in recent days, zeroing in on King, an outspoken conservative who is a nationwide favorite of tea party activists.
Party leaders have given Vilsack their blessing to run against King, with one knowledgeable Democratic source telling POLITICO that Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel told Vilsack last week during a meeting at the committees Capitol Hill offices that he would pledge to support her if she challenges the congressman.
An Iowa Democrat familiar with Vilsacks planning said she is mulling a move to Ames, Iowa, which would place her in the newly drawn 4th district that King occupies.
Dusky Terry, a Vilsack adviser, declined to comment on the former Iowa first ladys thinking, writing in an e-mail: Sorry, I do not have any details to provide.
Vilsack has been open about her interest in running for the House seat. Earlier this year, she stepped down from a nonprofit organization she formed, which is aimed at preventing unplanned pregnancies, to explore a bid. Shes also been huddling with several Democratic operatives to plot a potential campaign, including veteran media consultant John Lapp and Teresa Vilmain, who headed up Hillary Clintons 2008 primary campaign in the state.
Vilmain would not comment on Vilsacks interest in running against King in a brief e-mail exchange on Sunday.
Last week, Vilsack was a featured guest at an annual gala for the Womens Campaign Forum, an organization that backs female candidates who support abortion rights. Appearing at the event alongside Vilsack was Nevada Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley, who is running for Senate.
Vilsack had been weighing the possibility of running against a Democratic incumbent in a primary against either Rep. Dave Loebsack or Rep. Leonard Boswell but waging a campaign against King instead would allow her to rally the party against a lightning-rod conservative and avoid a contentious and potentially bloody intraparty battle.
Vilsack considered challenging Loebsack, a three-term congressman who will run for a newly drawn southeastern Iowa district that includes the Mount Pleasant area where Vilsack has owned a home.
But that plan was resistedby party leaders. During their meeting last week, Israel told Vilsack in no uncertain terms that he would unequivocally back Loebsack should she decide to run against him.
Vilsack is also widely rumored as a potential challenger to Boswell, but in March, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi traveled to Des Moines to appear with Boswell at a fundraiser a move that was viewed as a signal of her support for the veteran congressman.
The scrutiny surrounding Vilsacks future comes as Iowa lawmakers finalize a new congressional map that will shrink the states House delegation from five seats to four. The Legislature approved a new map last week and sent it to GOP Gov. Terry Branstad, who told local reporters Friday that he will sign the plan into law.
Even before the map passed, Vilsack had expressed interest in running against King.
Jan Bauer, chairwoman of the Story County Democratic Party in Ames, said she spoke with the former first lady several weeks ago and that Vilsack raised the possibility of challenging the conservative congressman.
Id be surprised if she doesnt do it, Bauer said in an interview.
Strategists from both parties said a race between King and Vilsack would be competitive, with King likely to tap into a vein of grass-roots support in an effort to fight off Vilsack, a well-known figure who is also highly regarded for her political acumen. King, a five-term congressman, filed reports with the Federal Election Commission on Friday indicating that he has $142,000 in his campaign bank account and that he raised $41,000 during the first quarter.
A King spokesman did not respond to an e-mail, but the congressman released a statement last week saying he will run for reelection.
The Legislatures passage of the new map has already set in motion a dramatic reshuffling of the congressional delegation. GOP Rep. Tom Latham, who had been drawn into the same northwestern Iowa-based district as King, announced Friday that he will move to run against Boswell in a seat covering southwestern Iowa. Loebsack announced that he will move to Iowa Citys Johnson County to run in the newly formed 2nd district thus avoiding a showdown with Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley.
Ms. Vilsack managed Hilary Clinton's 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign, in which she finished 3rd to Obama and John Edwards.
Maybe she can wear the bear
“....according to several sources familiar with her thinking...” Sounds like she is under the care of several psychiatrists.
The redistricting is a done deal - Branstad signed it today.
What does the redistricting mean? Does that benefit King or Vilsack?
The new Iowa 4th District will have a Republican edge in voter registration; and most of the counties going into the 4th District are currently in Latham’s - so while not a cake-walk for King - he’ll have to fight, because the ‘Rats & their union minions will fight hard, dirty, and for keeps.
In my opinion, this district will be more difficult for King than his current district, however, I think he can win. Sadly for us, being from SW Iowa, we’ve gone from having Steve as our rep to Leonard Boswell. Steve is very popular in SW Iowa. His new district does have Ames (a college town), however, it is far more conservative than U of I in Iowa City - but it is a college town.
I’m in 4 and will support King over nutsack big time. I hope you guys in SW Iowa are able to dump Boswell. I think it is time for the old bas*ard to retire. Way past due if you ask me.
And the whole kit & caboodle is here: http://www.legis.iowa.gov/Resources/Redist/redistricting.aspx
We’ll do our best. I completely agree that he needs to retire. The difficulty will be Polk county. I hear that Boswell is already starting his “push polling” and dirty politics up there. I watched a you tube video of him in his last campaign trying to defend cap and trade. He had no idea what he was talking about. It was so pathetic.
In a totally unrelated post, I highly recommend the book “Holy War” by John Bunyan.
Wow. She looks like fun on a date.
Well I guess the aged Christie has been on the public dole for a few decades now, sucking up taxpayer dollars, making political contacts, kissing the asses of the lobbyists and getting on her knees for the press, all while dangling from her husband's coattails. Why not take a swing a King and sling some mud? She's the new Hillary!
So it looks like they are splitting things right on county lines this time?
Right now the DSM metro is split differently
Thanks for the info
>>>So it looks like they are splitting things right on county lines this time?
Not for US Congress - those are, and have had to be full counties.
Vilsack is the perfect democRat candidate, as her number one qualification is she sleeps with another dem politico. King’s district is the most republican in the state and he will crush Vilsack like a bug.
I still see King winning it 55-45 at least. She’s not going to resonate in NW Iowa.
Agreed. NW Iowa is very conservative. Her chances are slim to none in my opinion. King will eat her alive in a campaign.