By Steven Law
President and CEO, American Crossroads
Last week, The Iowa Republican ran a story about Rep. Steve King and the Iowa U.S. Senate race, asserting that, “The main factor spurring King toward running is Karl Rove’s efforts to prevent him from running.” The story also described a new group loosely connected to Rove called the Conservative Victory Project that had “singled out” Rep. King.
First of all, Rep. King certainly doesn’t need anyone’s permission to run for the U.S. Senate. Second, nobody’s stopping him – though his skills and seniority would be sorely missed in the 4th District he has ably served for the last ten years.
Third, Karl Rove has never opined on King’s suitability as a Senate candidate. Nor did Rove “form” the Conservative Victory Project, the goal of which is to support strongly conservative, politically viable candidates. However, one group that Rove advises and helped found, Crossroads GPS, independently invested nearly $400,000 in King’s district in 2012.
The genesis of this non-controversy was a statement I (not Karl Rove) made pointing out the obvious: that if Rep. King threw his hat into the U.S. Senate race, Democrats could be expected to attack him viciously over comments he had made about ill-advised remarks by Rep. Todd Akin. That observation could be untrue only if Democrats grew a deep sense of fairness and restraint between now and November 2014, and I just don’t think that’s going to happen.
So what’s the conclusion? Next year’s U.S. Senate race in Iowa will be one of the most expensive, hard-fought campaigns in the state’s history. No matter who runs on the Republican side, it’s far from a sure thing. You’ve got to have a compelling reason – and a strong constitution – to take that on. Rep. King has several good reasons: a decade of public service, a district that trusts him, and his desire to serve his state and the country. Whether he continues to proudly serve the 4th or step into a brutally competitive new arena, those are better reasons than the non-existent opposition of those who have supported him in the past.
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