Back in August I posted a ranking of who I thought would be the best candidate for the 2010 gubernatorial race. For those of you who haven’t seen it, you may view it by clicking here. More than three months and an election have passed since I commented on who I thought would be best to run against Gov. Culver. Some of you may think this is early to be talking about Iowa’s top of the ticket in 2010 but believe me, meetings are taking place right now.
My top five candidates, in order, were Steve King, Mark Pearson, Matt Whitaker, Bob Vander Plaats, and Chuck Larson, Jr. I didn’t discuss some other folks who were right on the edge at the time I wrote the original post. Looking back on that now, I see where I should have broadened my field.
So for the next few days I will discuss additional potential candidates and then follow that up with a new ranking. A lot of things have changed in the last three months including a massive shift favoring the Democrats at a statewide level. There is no doubt this will change my ranking and those who I believe are worth risking.
The first new addition is Congressman Tom Latham, who proved this year without a shadow of a doubt, he’s a major Republican force in Iowa. In an evenly split district that voted for Obama in 21 of 28 counties, Tom Latham was able to win every county with 60 percent of the vote. Latham has very good name ID and is able to raise a ton of money. He simply outlasted his opponent this election cycle with good grassroots campaigning and fundraising. He also voted against the Wall Street bailout which definitely helped him with the masses.
Latham’s primary weakness? Most conservatives want a little more out of him. This translates into a tougher primary battle than what King would have. Latham also has years of votes that can be picked apart, although he seems to defend himself well while going on the offensive. Latham is also more of an establishment, country club Republican. Although I really don’t view him this way, it is easy to get that assumption because he votes right, but doesn’t use his office to be a vocal advocate of conservative causes.
Bottom line, Culver would be very worried if Latham jumped in the race.