The Republican Base Problem
The Republican Party has a base problem that may have already cost them control of the Senate. There was Todd Akin and Richard Murdoch in 2012 – Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell in 2010 who were able to win primaries but unable to win general elections because they were just- well crazy. Establishment Republicans are trying to stop the bleeding but they have a problem in Iowa.
The Republican Party may be dealt another far-right candidate in a potentially competitive U.S. Senate race if a poll released Tuesday is any indication.
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.
The problem for the GOP is two fold. First, Iowa’s Congressional Primary’s are closed, which means that the electorate will be restricted to a Republican electorate that tends to be more conservative than the state as a whole. Additionally, King’s popularity among Christian and Tea Party groups is likely to be a boon to him in a primary race where voter turnout is likely to be low. Second, of all the potential GOP Senate candidates in 2014, King is clearly the furthest to the right and the one most likely to commit an unforced error like the ones committed by Todd Akin and Richard Murdoch.
This is a problem created by the Republican Party but to a greater extent the conservative media machine – think FOX news and talkers like Limbaugh. They encouraged the paranoia of the already paranoid and suddenly the lunatics had taken over the asylum.