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PPP just released their latest Iowa U.S. Senate poll and Tea Party Congressman Steve King (R. IA-4) is the ideal candidate for Iowa Republican voters:

PPP surveyed 846 Iowa voters as well as 326 usual Republican primary voters from
February 1st to 3rd.

We tested three different iterations of the GOP candidate field for next year, and King leads by at least 19 points in each one of them. In a four candidate scenario he gets 41% to 22% for Tom Latham, 10% for Kim Reynolds, and 9% for Bob Vander Plaats. In a three candidate field that doesn't include Reynolds he gets 42% to 23% for Latham and 19% for Vander Plaats. And in a head to head with Latham he leads 50/27.

King's substantial lead over Latham has a lot to do with his appeal to 'very conservative' voters- they prefer him by a 61/19 margin. But even with moderates King edges Latham 37/35. And it's not really about name recognition- the 75% of primary voters familiar with King is only a little more than the 64% who know Latham. - PP, 2/5/13

It's really not that surprising that King would be the top choice amongst Republican voters but what baffles me is how King is able to appeal to "moderate" Republican voters.  One would think Congressman Tom Latham (R. IA-3) would be their top pick.  But Latham lacks name recognition so that could change but with the way the GOP has been picking it's nominees, I have zero doubt that King would win the primary.  King certainly is open to the idea of running for Senate:

“As I was processing that decision before Tom Harkin made this announcement, this accelerates that processing,” King said Monday. “It’s going to take some time to be able to determine what level of support would be out there.”

Sources close to King said they would be surprised if he passes on the chance to run statewide, especially after winning reelection in convincing fashion in November. 1/28/13

The idea of King running for Senate might excite the Tea Party base but it also has local Republican analysts worried after Wenzel Strategies polled 800 likely Republican voters between February 1st and 2nd and found the same result PPP had:

Some GOP strategists in Iowa have said it might be wise for both King and Latham to stay put in the U.S. House, where they have majority party status, rather than lose all their seniority by switching chambers. King has served since 2003, Latham since 1995.

If only King and Latham were candidates, 43 percent said they would vote for King and 35 percent said Latham. The survey was paid for by the PAC for Citizens United, which has supported both congressmen in past cycles, as well as state Sen. Brad Zaun during his 2010 congressional bid. - Des Moines Register, 2/5/13

It's understandable why Iowa Republican officials are worried about King running.  Lets look at King's greatest hits:

So yeah, with a guy like King as the nominee and the Iowa GOP wanting him as their candidate, no wonder progressive populist Congressman Bruce Braley (D. IA-1) would royally kick his ass in the general:

The problem for Republicans is that King would start out at a significant disadvantage in a general election. The most likely Democratic candidate, Bruce Braley, would start out 11 points ahead of King at 49/38. The three other Democrats we looked at lead King by substantial margins as well- Tom Vilsack would lead King 49/39, Chet Culver would lead 48/41, and Dave Loebsack would lead 47/40.

In addition to Braley's 11 point lead over King, he has advantages of 44/41 over Latham, 44/37 over Reynolds, and 51/33 over Vander Plaats. Vander Plaats trails by at least 14 points against every Democrat we tested- it's clear that if he somehow snagged the nomination it would be a disaster for Republicans. - PPP, 2/5/13

Even though he's committed another four years as Secretary of Agriculture, former Governor Tom Vilsak also proves to be a strong candidate for the Democrats:
The strongest candidate other than Braley for the Democrats would be Vilsack. Besides his 10 point lead over King he also has advantages of 46/42 over Latham, 46/38 over Reynolds, and 52/35 over Vander Plaats. - PPP, 2/5/13
I for one am fully behind a Braley/King race.  The only way to get rid of nut jobs like King is to get them enter a bigger race where they will lose by a humiliating margin.  I also am fully behind Braley as the Democratic nominee.  You can read why here:

I also support Braley because he listens to his constituents concerns hence why he voted against SOPA:

I know it's still way too early but I really hope it's a Braley vs. King match up because it will certainly make this midterm race quite entertaining.

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 09:37 AM PST.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party and In Support of Labor and Unions.

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