Here are the latest numbers from the Iowa Secretary of State's Office for registered voters:
456 Others (Green, etc.)
490652 Total registered voters
King would have about a 40,937 registered party advantage. We can't, of course, assume all Republicans will vote for him and all Democrats will vote for Vilsack. But, for the sake of argument (and more importantly simplicity of the math for me!), let's assume people only vote along party lines. That would mean Vilsack will have to dominate the Independent vote. By my count she would have to get more than 61% of the Independents...109616 votes to 68678.
Perhaps, that explains what we heard during her announcement in Ames. She never once mentioned during her remarks that she was a Democrat. She later told me that, of course, she is a proud Democrat. But she said she is running "as a citizen". Vilsack knows the numbers here. So will she try to run more as an Independent, assuming the Democrats' strong dislike of King will bring them along without as much courting? She mentioned the importance of finding solutions in the middle and said Iowans don't believe compromise "is a dirty word". Vilsack said the solution to the country's $14 plus trillion debt problem is a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. She declined to say what income threshhold would trigger a tax hike and later told me she isn't in congress yet. We expect that specifics will follow. During her remarks she had said not paying your fair share of your taxes is like showing up at a "potluck without bringing a dish". It was just one of the more folksy lines she used as she sells herself as the small town Iowa girl looking to represent the small towns of the 4th district.
Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn sent out a statement calling Vilsack's announcement a "non-starter".
DES MOINES- As Christie Vilsack 'officially' enters the race for the 4th Congressional District, Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn calls the former First Lady's campaign a non-starter citing her close association with the Obama Administration and ties to liberal special interest groups.This "non-starter", however, attracted an ad from the National Republican Congressional Committee before she had even officially announced her campaign yet. Hmmm, so someone from the other side is apparently paying attention, don't you think?
"Iowans need a principled leader in Congress, not someone who had a front row seat in Washington, D.C. as President Obama racked up record debt and stifled private sector job creation," said Strawn
Strawn pointed to Mrs. Vilsack's association with the President's failed stimulus, expansive health care takeover and disastrous cap and trade energy policy as examples of issues where the newly-minted Ames resident is out-of-step with the district's voters.
"Perhaps that explains why only a few dozen actual Fourth District residents donated to her campaign," said Strawn noting recent campaign filings indicate only 31 contributors to the Vilsack campaign came from the district.
Strawn concluded by saying the new 4th Congressional District has more Iowa Republicans than any other district and Congressman Steve King has represented half of the new district since 2002. In 2010, Republican Congressman Tom Latham won every county that is now part of the new 4th District.
Here's the ad: