Challenging Steve Kingby Ryan Anderson
That's quite the admonishment, but King has earned it. King: the man who idolizes Joe McCarthy ("a hero for America"), the man who compared torture at Abu Ghraib to "hazing", the man who declared Baghdad a safer city than Washington D.C. Between eating crow and gagging on his own foot, Rep. King has somehow found the time to vote against the 9/11 Commission recommendations, cutting interest rates on student loans, increasing the minimum wage, allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices... man oh man, his record just keeps going on and on like this.
As a Democrat in Iowa’s heavily Republican 5th Congressional District, Rob Hubler knows the earlier he starts campaigning, the better.Hubler, 63, announced his candidacy for western Iowa’s congressional seat last week in a 12-stop tour that started in Council Bluffs, where he lives, and included a stop March 29 at the Coffee Parlor, officially known as Java & Flicks, on Osceola’s square.
A retired Presbyterian minister and former political consultant, Hubler talked about his campaign strategy amid a small group of four. He said he started touring the 5th District in November to gauge whether to run. He said he hopes the early start, nearly 18 months before the 2008 election, will give his campaign the finances and support to win the Republican-heavy district.
Hubler said his father has a Republican background. And, he said, from his conversations, he believes there are two kinds of Republicans. Those who want anybody but U.S. Rep. Steve King and those who dislike King.
Looking at his votes and his solid re-election numbers, you might think King's district was a conservative stronghold rivaling Western Nebraska, but the truth is that IA-05 is even less Republican than the district represented by Lee Terry (a Cook PVI of R+8, compared to R+9 for the Omaha centered NE-02).
Despite being far too conservative and abrasive for even his mostly Republican constituents, King has managed impressive victories against two competent if underfunded Democratic challengers (including now State Rep. Paul Shomshor, who won the World Herald's endorsement over King in 2002) and has acquired an aura of invincibility that has him considering a race against Senator Tom Harkin, a situation that would create an open seat and likely draw a bigger name Democrat into this contest.
But what of Rob Hubler?
He's a preacher, a veteran, a first time candidate who nevertheless has plenty of campaign experience... but, more important than all that, he has energy. Energy enough, he says, to run a campaign 24 hours a day, six days a week for the next eighteen months. And, damn it, that might be just what this district needs.
I have to admire a man that's willing to put everything on hold and run for an office that seems hopelessly out of reach. It's exactly that kind of effort that propelled Scott Kleeb and Jim Esch into astonishingly close races in districts that hadn't seen a competitive election since the Gingrich revolution. This is precisely the sort of heavy lifting that is required to shake out the cobwebs of our single-party system and start introducing some new ideas in a political debate that's become something of a monologue.
Though primarily concerned with my home state politics and elections, my heart goes out to Hubler and his effort. Perhaps my money and time will follow. But for now, just this: keep fightin', Rob. We're with you.