Writing in from Iowa, TPM Reader BF says don’t expect a Senate candidate Steve King would flame out like Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock …
Just a few thoughts on Steve King from someone who is now represented by him in Congress due to redistricting.
Don’t underestimate Steve King. Last election King faced two challenges: redistricting removed some of conservative south-west Iowa and brought the Democratic enclave of Ames into his district, and he faced his first serious challenger (with national backing), Christie Vilsack. King rose to the occasion.
His TV ads and his numerous debate appearances (the first time he consented to debating a congressional opponent, I believe) were very effective in portraying him as a reasonable, grass-roots politician. He showed strong discipline in completely avoiding making the kind of crazy statements for which he is famous. Even when Vilsack brought up some of his more extreme past statements he skillfully diffused them. One of the Vilsack ads that referred to his bizarre position on dog fighting really back-fired on her. It might in part have been that had one not been following King one would find the allegations against him to be incredible. Nobody’s that crazy, right?
All in all, I was surprised by how good a politician he is. He is not like Michele Bachmann or Louis Gohmert who seem incapable of hiding the craziness.
I doubt King could win state-wide, but it’s not a sure thing. King a had the advantage in ‘12 in that he did not have to pander at all to his hard right base. They know and trust him by now. He just had to not scare off too many new people in his new district. He would of course face a more difficult situation running for Senate. Obviously, it depends in large part upon whom he faces. An open Senate seat is so rare in Iowa that a lot of people will take a shot at it. If someone who is well-known but actually a poor candidate (*COUGH* Chet Culver *COUGH*) gets the nomination King might have a chance.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.