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Zombie hand coming out of his grave
Iowa Rep. Steve King (R)
Woe to Republican establishmentarians who wish to stop the mighty demon that is Steve King! So says PPP, who finds the ultraconservative congressman beating fellow Rep. Tom Latham every which way from Sunday in various hypothetical GOP primary matchups for Iowa's open Senate seat:
We tested three different iterations of the GOP candidate field for next year, and King leads by at least 19 points in each one of them. In a four candidate scenario he gets 41% to 22% for Tom Latham, 10% for Kim Reynolds, and 9% for Bob Vander Plaats. In a three candidate field that doesn't include Reynolds he gets 42% to 23% for Latham and 19% for Vander Plaats. And in a head to head with Latham he leads 50/27.
This is the second poll in a row showing King with clear leads no matter the scenario; We Ask America released similar results just a day earlier. And another conservative pollster, Wenzel Strategies, agrees as well: In an eight-car pileup, King strides atop with 34 percent, versus 19 for Latham, 10 for Reynolds, 9 for Vander Plaats and basically bupkes for a whole bunch of Yugos crushed together at the bottom.

The general election news is also good for Democrats, particularly in light of the above:

The problem for Republicans is that King would start out at a significant disadvantage in a general election. The most likely Democratic candidate, Bruce Braley, would start out 11 points ahead of King at 49/38. The three other Democrats we looked at lead King by substantial margins as well—Tom Vilsack would lead King 49/39, Chet Culver would lead 48/41, and Dave Loebsack would lead 47/40.

We tested 16 different possible general election match ups for the Senate—Braley, Vilsack, Culver, and Loebsack on the Democratic side against King, Latham, Reynolds, and Vander Plaats on the Republican side. The Democratic candidate leads in 14 of the 16 possible match ups, with the only exceptions being leads for Latham over Culver and Loebsack.

Sixteen matchups! I'm not going to reconstruct Tom Jensen's kitchen sink (you'll have to dive into his PDF for that), but the most salient additional matchup is Braley beating Latham 44-41. That's a lot closer that the 49-38 edge Braley holds over King, which shows you just how dangerous Steve King is to the GOP (and how much tougher Latham would be for us). But King is a beast of their own creation, which is why the likes of Karl Rove are trying to drive a stake in this monster's heart. I really don't know that they'll be successful: It might be better, in fact, to compare the movement King represents to a zombie rather than a vampire—try to kill it and it'll just rise from the dead once again.

P.S. Latham has finally acknowledged he's interested in the race, and of course he professes to be unworried about a primary against King. You know what, yegg? I believe you!

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 11:13 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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