Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Larson for Governor

You can’t have a statewide Republican race conversation with political insiders without talking about Chuck Larson, Jr. Larson has filled all the right roles, won all the right assignments, and generally behaved in a manner expected of a chosen one. He served as state representative, state senator, Republican Party of Iowa chair, major in the U.S. Army Reserves (where he served a tour in Iraq), nationally known rodeo clown, and a host of other high level positions. I made one of those up. He is presently ambassador to Latvia.

The pros… Junior is fairly well known throughout the state thanks to his many roles and years in service to this state and country. He is a political insider with connections to some of the best volunteers, staff and deep pocket Republicans. He has 10 years of elected experience. And even though at the gubernatorial level military background isn’t as important, it definitely gives Larson more respect from the patriotic conservatives that he will need in a primary. He’s young, energetic, clean cut, and all-American.

The biggest problem I see for Larson is his recent hiatus from Iowa and politics at this level. He’s not thought of as a conservative and will struggle defining himself as such particularly when running against the likes of Bob Vander Plaats or Steve King. He does have a voting record that will be exploited. Junior is also extremely ambitious. This quality can be advantageous, but, can also warp into overconfidence, arrogance, and a sense of entitlement which appalls rather than appeals. Also, Larson is thought of by the base as an establishment candidate. That does bode well for fundraising, but not support.

If Larson runs in a primary with a couple conservatives, I can see him getting the central and eastern Iowa moderate vote. He would be banking on the conservative vote getting split, however. If Larson runs, I expect him to jump in at the opportune time where he can capitalize on some disenchanted moderates or eastern Iowan Republicans looking for their savior. If it were King v. Larson, the advantage goes to King. Otherwise, Junior would be formidable and very likely victorious.

No comments: