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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 is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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