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March 1st, 2013

Deaces’ U.S. Senate Ultimatum

By Craig Robinson

Steve Deace, the former drive time radio host on WHO Radio who is now a nationally syndicated radio host, has told Fox News that he would consider running for the U.S. Senate in Iowa should Congressman Steve King choose not to run.

Deace told Fox News’ Steve Brown that he has been contacted by people across the country and in Iowa to run for Iowa’s open senate seat created by Sen. Tom Harkin’s decision to retire upon the completion of his term.  Deace believes that King is “uniquely qualified to unite the Rand Paul faction and the Mike Huckabee faction of the grassroots activists.”

Deace also took a jab at Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Governor Terry Branstad by saying neither have the ability to unite the party.  Deace went so far as to say anyone connected to Branstad will be unable to unite the party.  Those are tough words about someone who has never lost an election and is serving his fifth term as governor, especially since they come from someone who has only ever run for a county party chair position and lost.  It’s also interesting to note that Branstad was intimately involved with King’s 2012 re-election campaign, and he nominated Reynolds for Lt. Governor in 2010.

Reynolds, who told reporters on Thursday that she’s seriously considering a run for the U.S. Senate, plans to discuss the race with King when she returns from her trade mission to Vietnam and the Phillippines.  Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey also said that he was giving a U.S. Senate campaign a serious look.

There are a number of things that are interesting regarding Deace’s “King or else” pledge to run for the U.S. Senate.  First, Deace has never been a fan of King’s despite King being the conservative standard bearer in the state.  Deace has been vocal in his belief that King should do more in regards to leading the conservative movement in Iowa, and he publicly criticized King following the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision that opened the door to gay marriage in the state.

Following the Court’s decision, King had encouraged Republican lawmakers to pass a residency requirement for marriage licenses.  The thinking was that this would keep the number of gay marriages in Iowa down because only Iowa couples would be qualified to be married.  It was also thought that it would help make sure that gay marriage wouldn’t be exported to other states in instances where gay couples that got married in Iowa may seek a divorce in a state that doesn’t recognize gay marriage.

Deace wanted nothing to do with a law that would regulate gay marriage, and he repeatedly attacked King for this proposal.  At one point, Deace and some of his regular guests went so far as to suggest that someone should primary King because King was refusing to stand up to the Court by wanting to pass a residency requirement.

The timing of Deace’s pledge to run for the Senate is also interesting.  Deace used his “announcement” to attack Kim Reynolds, who he and some others feel is an unacceptable option, while Reynolds is out of the country and unable to defend herself.  His “announcement” also comes just days before the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville.  Media attention is good for Deace’s business, and being a possible U.S. Senate candidate makes him a whole lot more interesting.

Deace has been able to get Fox News and Politico to help spread his threat to run for the U.S. Senate, but neither publication thought to ponder the question of whether or not he has the ability to run.  Can he be a thorn in the side of a candidate like Reynolds? Of course, but a serious threat for the Republican nomination he is not.

It is also interesting that he seems fixated on uniting the Huckabee and Ron Paul factions in the primary.  These are two groups who have opposed one another in caucus situations.  However, the nomination for the Senate will be played out in a primary, not a caucus.  Deace should know the difference after seeing the candidate he supported, Bob Vander Plaats, go down in defeat to Terry Branstad in the 2010 gubernatorial primary.  The primary electorate in Iowa is much different that the caucus electorate.

Despite everything that has happened this week in regards to the U.S. Senate race, one constant remains.  For Republicans, Steve King is in the catbird seat because he is virtually unbeatable in a primary.  If he wants to run for Senate, he will likely be the nominee.  And he doesn’t need Steve Deaces’ help to accomplish that.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson serves as the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prior to founding Iowa's largest conservative news site, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. In that capacity, Robinson planned and organized the largest political event in 2007, the Iowa Straw Poll, in Ames, Iowa. Robinson also organized the 2008 Republican caucuses in Iowa, and was later dispatched to Nevada to help with the caucuses there. Robinson cut his teeth in Iowa politics during the 2000 caucus campaign of businessman Steve Forbes and has been involved with most major campaigns in the state since then. His extensive political background and rolodex give him a unique perspective from which to monitor the political pulse of Iowa.

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