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Steve King: A Todd Akin Problem For The GOP In Iowa?

According to a new poll, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat being vacated by Tom Harkin is perhaps the one candidate that any Republican who actually wants to win desires the least:

The Republican Party may be dealt another far-right candidate in a potentially competitive U.S. Senate race if a poll released Tuesday is any indication.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is the favorite among Iowa Republicans to run in next year’s contest to replace retiring  Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), according to the latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling. The poll showed 41 percent of usual GOP primary voters in the state identifying King as their preferred candidate over three other Republicans. Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) was a distant second with 22 percent support among Hawkeye State Republicans. Neither King nor Latham so far has declared an intention to run.

Some conservatives, including a new group backed by political operative Karl Rove, have warned recently that nominating King would put Republicans in the same bind they found themselves in the previous two cycles, when the party squandered prime pick-up opportunities in Senate races by fielding candidates who turned out to be too extreme for voters.

In 2008, King said that electing President Barack Obama would be bad “optics” in the Muslim world. And last August, King seemingly backed up the now-infamous argumentmade by embattled Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), saying he’s never never heard of a woman getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.

The problem for the GOP is two fold. First, Iowa’s Congressional Primary’s are closed, which means that the electorate will be restricted to a Republican electorate that tends to be more conservative than the state as a whole. Additionally, King’s popularity among Christian and Tea Party groups is likely to be a boon to him in a primary race where voter turnout is likely to be low. Second, of all the potential GOP Senate candidates in 2014, King is clearly the furthest to the right and the one most likely to commit an unforced error like the ones committed by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock in 2012.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ben says:

    Rarely is the question asked: Is our republicans learning?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  2. michael reynolds says:

    I’m going to donate to Steve King.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  3. Kylopod says:

    perhaps the one candidate that any Republican who actually wants to win desires the least

    I would phrase that slightly differently: he’s the one candidate any sane Republican who wants to win would desire the least. Part of the reason for the rise of nominees like this is that there are a lot of rank-and-file voters who actually believe that the further to the right a candidate is, the more electable they are. It’s a major tenet of wingnut propaganda, and although there are conservative purists with a slightly more nuanced take on the matter (i.e. we need to nominate more conservative candidates on principle even if it decreases the chances of a GOP victory), the idea that it actually increases their chances of victory, in spite of all available evidence to the contrary, runs deep among the right-wing base.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    This is what happens when a Political Party’s base ignorant, superstitious, paranoid and insane.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  5. al-Ameda says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m going to donate to Steve King.

    Form a PAC and give wire instructions, I’m in too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. Moosebreath says:

    @Kylopod:

    “Part of the reason for the rise of nominees like this is that there are a lot of rank-and-file voters who actually believe that the further to the right a candidate is, the more electable they are.”

    bithead being a prime example of this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  7. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:

    Although those people SAY they’re convinced King (and his ilk) could win elections, I ‘m not sure they actually believe it. I think they’re so crazed, embittered, and alienated from everyone else in this country that they want to bring the whole enterprise down in ruins. And by their reasoning, fracturing the Republican party is the best way to do so. Yes, I know it doesn’t make sense, but they’ve gone way beyond rationality. Remember that these people are the ones who want to secede and start the Second Civil War.

    Another part, too, is that voting for someone like King enables them to prove their moral superiority to the rest of us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. Kylopod says:

    @Moosebreath:

    bithead being a prime example of this.

    Yeah, I had him in mind, but he’s just one example–the amount of right-wingers in this country who think this way probably runs in the millions.

    @CSK:

    Although those people SAY they’re convinced King (and his ilk) could win elections, I ‘m not sure they actually believe it.

    I’m sure you’re right about some of them–but I still think there are many who sincerely hold this belief. The bubble in which they live gives them tremendous opportunity to wallow in delusion, whether it be about global warming, Obama’s ability to speak without a teleprompter, or their electoral standing.

    We saw the effect of this bubble last year on actual pundits. In itself, the claim that Romney would win in a landslide wasn’t evidence the pundits were delusional. It’s not as if Karl Rove is any stranger to misleading the public to further his agenda. But his meltdown on Election Night did not look, shall we say, calculated. Normally, propagandists say their preferred candidate is winning in the hopes of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the only thing Rove managed to accomplish that night was to humiliate himself on live TV. Apparently he had started to believe his own BS. If someone that ruthless can fool himself so completely, it’s small potatoes compared to the world his viewers live in.

    With commentators like Limbaugh and Hannity who have professional incentives to see their side lose electorally, regardless of what they tell their audience, we obviously have to take any claims from them about the electoral strength of a Herman Cain or Michelle Bachmann with a grain of salt. But at least a portion of their audience does come to believe what they’re being told. That’s been my impression, anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  9. MM says:

    I don’t think it’s an unforced error if Steve King doesn’t have to back track. The guy had a long history of saying weird, xenophobic things without any remorse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  10. Jen says:

    He’s dreadful. I believe he is the one who condoned dog fighting. Dog fighting is brutal and despicable.

    There are few legislators I detest more than Rep. King.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  11. anjin-san says:

    He’s dreadful. I believe he is the one who condoned dog fighting.

    I don’t have a problem with this. We should let him fight a dog or two himself and see how it works out. Actually, this works for all dog fighting fans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  12. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    And the problem for Doug is three-fold: folds one and two as noted in his post and three, he can’t bring himself to see that the solution is to find a decent public servant who is from the Democratic party and vote for that person “warts and all.”

    Oh, I forgot. In Dougrandistan, there are no Democrats who are decent public servant types. All Democrats are confiscatory, Nanny state, enslavers of the “producer class.” In that case, never mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  13. Dave says:

    I preface this entire post with the information I currently reside in Des Moines.
    There is a big problem with this whole election for Iowa republicans and the splintering has already begun on the am stations. On the commute home there was the debate over voting for a republican that can win or voting for a republican that will lose but shares your values. Latham is unlikely to run since he barely won his new district which includes Des Moines and if he faced a better candidate he would likely lose. Secondly King is the least of our problems on the Republican side. During the 2010 gubernatorial primary Branstad faced a hard challenger in crazy gay hating Bob vander Plaats. Vander Plaats is talking about seeking that senate seat and may be able to out crazy and out family values King. All in all it looks to be fun to watch. On the other side of the aisle Bruce Braley may get the Democratic Party Nomination without a primary. It will sure be interesting to watch over the next couple years. Hopefully King can compare more immigrants to dogs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0