Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Young Flips to House in Iowa; Cheney Out in Wyoming

In House, Senate on January 8, 2014 at 10:22 am

A major development has occurred in the Iowa Senate campaign precipitated by Des Moines Rep. Tom Latham’s (R-IA-3) prior announcement that he would not seek re-election.

David Young, former chief of staff to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who was viewed as a serious contender for the Republican open seat Senate nomination albeit in a weak field of candidates, has adjusted his political plans. Young has now made public his intention to transfer from the Senate race into Latham’s open 3rd Congressional District.

Young said he originally planned to run for the 3rd District seat when he believed that Rep. Latham would announce for the Senate. When that didn’t happen, Young decided to run statewide.

The former congressional aide also said the potential of the Senate race being forced to a nominating convention makes the task of winning the general election against Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1), the consensus Democratic candidate, all the more difficult. Under Iowa election law, if no candidate receives at least 35 percent of the primary vote a party convention is subsequently convened to choose a nominee.

Young’s Senate fundraising was beginning to lag, so his move to the House race makes sense. The overall Senate campaign has, so far, been disappointing for national Republicans because no GOP candidate has successfully separated him or herself from the rest of the field.

The principle remaining Senate contenders are former US Attorney Matt Whitaker, state Sen. Joni Ernst, and radio talk show host Sam Clovis. The seat is open because five-term Sen. Tom Harkin (D) is retiring.

The open IA-3 campaign, which is expected to be highly competitive in the general election, already features Democratic former state Sen. Staci Appel who had announced her candidacy before Latham decided to retire. On the Republican side, in addition to Young, Secretary of State Matt Schultz is expected to soon become a congressional candidate. Both parties will likely host crowded nominating contests. Candidate filing closes on March 14. The Iowa primary is June 3.

Wyoming Senate

Saying “serious health issues have arisen in our family”, Liz Cheney, the former national television commentator and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, officially dropped her Republican primary challenge to Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi.

Trailing by more than 30 points in a number of publicly released polls, the Cheney campaign never fully came to fruition as a serious challenge to a three-term incumbent. She was successful on the fundraising trail, however, amassing more than $1 million since her July 2013 announcement, and that is prior to publishing the fourth quarter financial numbers in the year-end Federal Election Commission disclosure report.

The Wyoming Senate race should now be an easy ride for Sen. Enzi, as he will likely be unopposed for renomination. The Democrats will not seriously contest the seat in the general election.

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