With the retirement of Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, people are lining up to vie for his seat in 2014. According to the first poll, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination to replace him is Rep. Steve King, the prom king of Wingnuttia High School (Michele Bachmann is the queen, of course).
King is completely bugnutty. The good news is that the same poll shows he would lose to a top Democrat:
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is the favorite among Iowa Republicans to run in next year’s contest to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), according to the latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling. The poll showed 41 percent of usual GOP primary voters in the state identifying King as their preferred candidate over three other Republicans. Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) was a distant second with 22 percent support among Hawkeye State Republicans. Neither King nor Latham so far has declared an intention to run.
Some conservatives, including a new group backed by political operative Karl Rove, have warned recently that nominating King would put Republicans in the same bind they found themselves in the previous two cycles, when the party squandered prime pick-up opportunities in Senate races by fielding candidates who turned out to be too extreme for voters.
PPP’s findings suggested that King could face the same fate in a general election as Akin. In four hypothetical matchups tested by PPP, King trailed by seven to 11 points against notable Democrats, including a 10-point deficit to former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D). The poll indicated that Latham would fare much better in a general election.
While 63 percent of Republicans in Iowa have a favorable opinion of King, only 32 percent of all registered voters feel the same way. Forty-one percent of Iowa voters have an unfavorable opinion of King (compared with just 12 percent of GOP voters), while more than a quarter of all voters said they have no opinion of the conservative firebrand.
I’d like extra butter on my popcorn, please.