Steve King Cannot Be Stopped

George W. Bush speaks while standing with Rep. Steve King during a campaign rally on November 3, 2006 in LeMars, Iowa.

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The troublemaking pixies at Public Policy Polling dip into Iowa and find that Rep. Steve King—who’s represented the state’s GOP heartland for a decade—starts strong in any Senate primary.

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.

King is the first named target of the new Conservative Victory Project. How might they bring him down? I’d recommend the sort of bad faith attacks used by Restore Our Future to soften up Rick Santorum in 2012—negging King for his occasional moments of compromise, as Santorum was attacked for his occasional votes to increase the debt limit. Of course, doing so leaves you with a weakened nominee against Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, who represents eastern Iowa and currently leads every possible Republican candidate.

Not for nothing, I predicted this the moment Tom Harkin retired and opened up the seat.