Karl Rove's GOP Purification Campaign Fails Its First Test

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 27 2013 3:41 PM

Karl Rove's GOP Purification Campaign Fails Its First Test

It was just 25 short days ago that the New York Times broke news of a new independent PAC that would save the GOP from itself. The story was datelined in western Iowa, home of Rep. Steve King, because he "could be among the earliest targets of the Conservative Victory Project." King was one of the national Tea Party's heroes, a man who liked to bring miniature models of the U.S.-Mexico border fence into House floor debates. It was generally understood that the establishment -- including Karl Rove, the frontman for the effort -- preferred a campaign by Class of 1994 vet Tom Latham, who polled much better than King, if he could only get into the general election.

Take it away, Tom Latham.

The opportunity to serve Iowa in the U.S. Senate is appealing to this farm kid who grew up here, raised a family here, and helped grow a family business in Iowa. I love Iowa.

However, only 56 days ago I took an oath to “faithfully discharge the duties” of an office with which the people of Iowa’s Third Congressional District entrusted to me.  I cannot in good conscience launch a two-year statewide campaign that will detract from the commitment I made to the people who elected me, at a time when our nation desperately needs less campaigning and more leadership.
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Latham trailed King by a nearly 2-1 margin in a potential primary, and the CVP won't even get a chance to fix that for him. Rove et al can start courting Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, but so far they're 0-1 against the Tea Party.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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