Karl Rove versus Steve King. Rove was one of President Bush's top advisors, but now Iowa's open Senate seat has one of America's top Republican operatives gearing up to fight one of his own, vetting candidates who have a history of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. And, that apparently includes Congressman Steve King.
Steven Law, the CEO of American Crossroads, told the New York Times:
"We're concerned about Steve King's Todd Akin problem....All of the things he's said are going to be hung around his neck," says Law.
Law is apparently referring to comments King made to Siouxland News during his congressional campaign last summer.
While most Republicans were distancing themselves from Akin, King came to Akin's defense and said he was unaware of any 12-year-old girls getting pregnant from statutory rape, or incest.
"Well I just haven't heard of that being a circumstance that's been brought to me in any personal way and I'd be open to hearing a discussion about that subject matter," King said in an interview to Siouxland News on August 20, 2012.
Now, with a Senate seat up for grabs in Iowa next year, American Crossroads wants to avoid a repeat of 2012.
"We had some really significant self destructive candidates, who ended up impacting others on the ballot too, like Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana and our goal is to see if we can try and find those conservative candidates who are going to be disciplined, who are going to raise the money, and be competitive in a general election," says Law.
But it appears King would be in the driver's seat if he decides to run.
In a poll just conducted by the conservative PAC "Citizen's United," King had the support of 34% of GOP voters, more than 15 points ahead of Congressman Tom Latham.
Political Science professor David Wiltse says that's exactly what Karl Rove's group is worried about.
"When it comes to King specifically, I think what they're trying to avoid with him, is something that's more along the lines of presentation and not so much about ideology," says Wiltse.
And with popular Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley apparently ready to run, American Crossroads is getting involved in Iowa early, with an eye to the general election.
"It's more about putting a candidate out there who at least Rove and Law think is more presentable and more competitive to the general electorate," Wiltse says.
Siouxland News spoke with Congressman King's office several times this week, but he was unavailable for an interview. We hope to get his take on this story next week.