Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Thursday 02/07/13

House Aggie Steve King Pushes Back

Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King isn't going to let GOP kingmakers in Washington possibly push him out of a race for U.S. Senate.

With Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin retiring, Iowa will its first open race for a U.S. Senate seat since 1974. The New York Times reported earlier this week that Republicans such as Karl Rove are creating a new group, the Conservative Victory Project, specifically to target fellow Republicans in the primaries.

Over the last two election cycles, the GOP has lost Senate races in states such as Missouri, Indiana, Nevada and Delaware due to the "wrong candidates" being chosen in primaries. Thus, Rove and others are attempting to nip some candidates in the bud. In the process, the plan has created a great deal of interparty conflict in the past several days.

A subcommittee chairman now on the House Agriculture Committee, King is now in his sixth term and represents the most conservative corn of Iowa in the northwest part of the state. But he's also a major player statewide among social conservatives.

Democrats from outside of Iowa are lauding the idea of King in a Senate race. They obviously don't know King. The guy can certainly fly off the handle, but he's also a fighter. When King first ran for Congress in 2002 he came in fourth place in a six-way primary. Yet, he walked out of a convention caucus as the GOP nominee and has never looked back. He handily defeated the state's former first lady, Christie Vilsack, last fall.

The Des Moines Register reported Thursday that King sent an email to supporters asking for donations to push back against Rove. Specifically, King stated "Nobody can bully me out of running for the U.S. Senate, not even Karl Rove and his hefty war chest."

King was asking for donations, though he noted he has not made a decision whether to run for Senate in 2014. Rep. Tom Latham, a fellow Republican, is also considered a possible candidate. Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley is already forming a committee for the race.

As an Iowan, I've already been called three times from pollsters seeking to measure favorability of different possible candidates.

The Iowa race would undoubtedly be a close one. http://dld.bz/…

Senate Ag Committee Sets Disaster Hearing

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, announced Thursday her committee will hold a hearing Feb 14 to examine “Drought, Fire and Freeze: The Economics of Disasters for America’s Agricultural Producers.” The hearing will include testimony from Joe Glauber, chief economist at USDA, and Roger Pulwarty, drector of the National Integrated Drought Information System at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

More information can be found at http://www.agriculture.senate.gov/…

I can be found on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

Posted at 3:14PM CST 02/07/13 by Chris Clayton
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