Republican Congressman Steve King says it’s too soon for him to speculate about facing former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack in the 2012 election. “The Democrats may have a primary. On my side I may have a primary so we can’t presume that that is a match up at this point, although it seems to be likely,” King says. “She placed a courtesy call to let me know that she has an exploratory committee. I think that’s to her credit and we’ll see how this emerges.”
Vilsack, who is a life-long Democrat, announced last week she is moving to Ames, which is in the new fourth congressional district where King lives, and will be conducting a “listening tour” with voters in the district. King says he and Vilsack have a “complete philosophical disagreement on how the world looks.”
“That could be an engaging and interesting discussion taking place across 39 counties,” King says. “I was born here. I live here. My roots go down here. Our family for three generations, four generations, I guess more, go down in this part of the state.”
Christie Vilsack is also an Iowa native, but her hometown of Mount Pleasant is in southeast Iowa and is not part of the new fourth congressional district. King says it’s “hard to estimate” how tough an opponent Christie Vilsack may be. “Not having a track record, it’s hard to estimate that. I think that people on her side think so and so I would take her and any opponent very seriously and intend to do my share of this work and put together the best team we can,” King says.
“Anytime you have a new district and the extra counties that are added it makes it a more difficult task and certainly I expect that.” After winning a seat in congress in 2002, King has refused to debate his Democratic opponents in the past four elections. And King is making no commitment to debating Christie Vilsack.
“Nor am I declining. That’s something that I would think would be discussed between the two camps, if it got to that point,” King says. “But I would just say that most everybody in Iowa knows that I’ve debated a Vilsack many, many times…Tom and I served in the Iowa Senate together as we engaged each other over and over again. And then as he as governor, and I as a senator and then, he as governor and I as a congressman and now he as the secretary of agriculture and I as a congressman.”
King suggests he’ll have even more debates with Tom Vilsack before debates Christie Vilsack. King made his comments on the Iowa Public Radio program, “The Exchange”.