U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, started a heavy schedule of town-hall meetings across western and central Iowa with an event in Carroll this morning.  Daily Times Herald photo by Douglas Burns
U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, started a heavy schedule of town-hall meetings across western and central Iowa with an event in Carroll this morning.  Daily Times Herald photo by Douglas Burns

Monday, April 2, 2012

(Audio) U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, this morning said an unprecedented amount of campaign cash is flowing into his 4th District race with Democratic former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack.

“It will be the most-expensive race in the history of Iowa, and it is not going to be a positively run campaign on the other side,” King said.

At a town-hall meeting this morning in the Carroll Chamber of Commerce’s Harold Bierl Room, King told a crowd of more than 50 people that he expects Vilsack and her political allies to spend between $5 million and $10 million.

For his part, King said he would release highly competitive fund-raising numbers soon.

“Our fund-raising has been very good for this quarter by any measure that we’ve had to do in the past,” he said. King’s campaign treasurer is Carroll County Republican Party Chairman Craig Williams of Manning.

Vilsack told the Daily Times Herald she planned to raise $3 million for the race and have the funds to compete in four television markets — Des Moines, Omaha, Neb., Sioux City and Rochester, Minn. — as well as on the ground in community newspapers, on the radio and in an aggressive, well-staffed campaign.

“She’s ahead of schedule to do that,” King said. “I expect she will do that. For every million dollars she will raise there’s at least one Super PAC that’s announced they will come to attack me.”

King and Vilsack’s camps are now ironing out logistics for up to six debates in the district. King said Monday that one of the debates should be in Carroll.

“I’ve offered from the beginning that I’d like to have debates here,” King said.

The new 4th District, a sweep of western and central Iowa counties that includes Carroll County, stretches from the Missouri River east to Story County and Chickasaw County.

King said the district contains the “best Republican base” in the United States.

Northwest Iowa is home to reliably Republican territory, places like Sioux County, where Republicans outnumber Democrats 14,417 to 1,688 — with only 3,641 independents.

King said he’s done extensive polling on issues of the day in the district.

“I believe the same thing you do,” King said. “That’s what it comes down to. You know where I stand. I’ve been consistent all along.”

For instance, King said, he opposed what he believed to be irresponsible spending under both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.

The new district, while not as heavily Republican as the current 5th, does set up well by the numbers for King.

The sweep of 39 counties that is the new 4th District is peopled by a plurality of independents — 37 percent (182,592).

Republicans make up 36 percent of the 4th’s electorate (177,130) and Democrats 27 percent (134,819) — again, according to Jan. 1 figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office and spread-sheeting the 39 counties into a 4th District as it would look right now.

King told the Carroll audience he planned to make central to his campaign opposition to the Affordable Care Act, federal health reform popularly known as Obamacare.

“In the country I am the No. 1 opponent to Obamacare,” King said.

King said the individual mandate requiring people to purchase insurance is a major overreach by the federal government.

“George Orwell could not have predicted some of the things that have happened that suppress our liberty and our freedom and diminish our opportunity to succeed,” King said.

Last week, King watched the arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of health-care reform. King predicts the high court will rule 5-4 that the individual mandate is not constitutional but 6-3 that it cannot be severed from the law. There’s the real likelihood it will take a Republican president to repeal Obamacare, King said.

“Our president does not have the humility to respect the will of the American people,” King said.

On a local matter, King said he met with U.S. Postal Service officials but is not confident that plans to close the post office in Dedham can be stopped. King said he has been working with U.S. Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, to protect rural post offices.