The white smoke has risen. The decision has been made. Rep. Steve King will not seek Tom Harkin's senate seat.
Hang on, I'm going to need a minute.
I can honestly say I'm disappointed.
Rep. King running would have been enough comedy fodder to fill these column inches for at least a year, maybe two if he said something particularly ridiculous, hopefully while being video taped.
An anachronistic idiom aside: When are we going to stop saying "tape" something when we mean "record?" When was the last time you saw a tape? The problem is nobody is going to say "video record" over "video tape" because "record" is a longer word than "tape;" and in a country that invented LOL, BRB and YOLO we aren't going to be ditching brevity any time soon.
So first Rep. Latham said he wasn't going to run. Then Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds said she wasn't going to run. Then Ag Secretary Bill Northey said he wasn't going to run. Now Rep. King has announced he isn't going to run.
I need a favor. Could everybody just set their newspaper down, flip over your couch cushions and mail any found Republicans to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Attn: Brad Dayspring.
You see, Mr. Dayspring is the communications director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee; those are the guys that scour the party ranks looking for potential senate candidates, kind of like Karl Rove's Conservative Victory Project but without the patently ironic name.
Now, the only reason I know the name Dayspring is last week, utilizing the most high-tech communication device ever created by mankind (Twitter), Dayspring mentioned that potential GOP Senate candidate State Senator Joni Ernst (R ... eally should be obvious) got a little campaign encouragement from Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.
And by "little encouragement" I?mean Reynolds went on the radio and said that Ernst should run.
Apparently this is not new for Reynolds/Ernst as the lt. governor also encouraged her to run for county auditor, and to run in a special election to fill a vacant seat in the State Senate; it was left vacant after then State Sen. Kim Reynolds got elected lt. governor.
So ... Ernst has it in the bag? It looks like she's got the right kind of friends, she's an Iraq war vet with enough conservative cred to carry her in the western half of the state and enough appeal to Independents to put the eastern half in play.
The only other candidate who has announced is Matt Whitaker, a U.S. attorney, now private lawyer, who recently said that, if elected, he plans to vote alongside shining examples of obstructionist politics Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz.
So, if Whitaker is elected to the Senate he promises to do ... nothing?
Oh, a guy named Paul Lunde from Ames has said he'll seek the GOP nomination. But the last time this guy was in politics was when he lost a congressional race in 92 by 25 points, not exactly a contender.
My question is: Is this it? Don't get me wrong, Ernst sounds like she's got momentum and Whitaker can definitely get the money, but it doesn't explain why the rest of these GOP stalwarts have walked away from the contest.
And it all comes back to a thought I've had since I first heard Rep. Latham wasn't going to run: I refuse to believe that Rep. Braley is that intimidating of an opponent.
I'm sure he's a great guy and all that, but as far as I?can tell his greatest legislative accomplishment is having a full head of hair.
He votes for big party planks like Obamacare and gets more than three times as much money from out-of-state contributions as from within. He started the Populist Caucus, a group of 22 congressman with such lofty goals as "fighting for American families" and "creating good paying jobs in the United States." That's all well and good, but if I asked all the other caucuses in Congress, would any of them disagree with "fighting for American families?"
Lots of outside money and vague, feel-good political opinions? This is what has the Iowa GOP running back to their barns for cover?
Rep. King, I'm sorry you won't be around for a hilarious Senate campaign. Lt. Gov. Reynolds, I'm sure you're busy getting ready to run for governor (you're not hiding it well) so you get a pass but to the rest of the Iowa GOP: step your game up!
Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.