Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

Latham Marks Third House Retirement in One Day (Updated)

Updated 5:48 p.m., 6:55 p.m., 7:56 p.m. | Iowa Republican Rep. Tom Latham, a top ally of Speaker John A. Boehner, became the third member of Congress to announce his retirement on Tuesday.

“I want to share with you my decision that I will not be a candidate for any office in November of 2014,” Latham wrote in an email to his supporters.His departure sets up a highly competitive open-seat race for Iowa’s 3rd District. In 2012, President Barack Obama carried the Des-Moines based district by four points — meanwhile, Latham defeated Rep. Leonard Boswell, a Democrat, by an 8-point margin.

Earlier this year, former state Sen. Staci Appel announced her challenge to Latham. But a Democratic source familiar with Iowa said additional candidates will take a look at the seat in lieu of Latham’s departure: Earlham Mayor Dusky Terry, Dr. Andrea McGuire, a former candidate for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Janet Peterson, and state Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal.

A GOP operative close to Secretary of State Matt Schultz said he would give it serious consideration, noting the Republican lives in the district and is well liked by the state’s conservative base.

In the Iowa edition of the Farm Team series, Roll Call reported that former Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn, state Rep. Peter Cownie from Polk County and state Sen. Jack Whitver are potential GOP successors to Latham on the ballot.

National Republican operatives also point to West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer as a potential recruit.

Earlier on Tuesday, Reps. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., announced the end of their respective House careers.

Updated 7:56 p.m. | Schultz confirmed his interest in running for Latham’s seat.

“I have represented part of the district as a city councilman and now as Iowa’s Secretary of State,” Schultz said in a statement. “I am seriously considering running for Congress however that’s a decision I will make in the next couple weeks.  Now is a time to thank Congressman Latham for his service. I want to thank him for everything he has done for the state of Iowa.”

Shira T. Center contributed to this report.

  • Steffen Schmidt

    This is a huge loss for the GOP. The Third District in Iowa is a mixed seat but Latham, a “moderate” Republican did well. Now it becomes a wide open seat which is always a risk.

  • Serr8d

    A ‘moderate’ Republican is one who gives ground to the now too-far-Left Democrats, thus ‘losing more slowly’ every time s/he ‘pragmatically’ gives in. Our political Center now is pushed farther Left than it’s ever been.

    The TEA Party is successfully challenging these moderates. We finally have had enough of this steady shift to Left in this Republic. These new Democrats promise the treasury’s contents to “me first!” Americans for their votes; this loose, unsustainable fiscal policy will cause the collapse of our economic structure, and perhaps the dissolution of the Republic itself. I fear that our TEA Party push back against ‘moderate’ Republicans began too late to stop what’s happening.

    So, good riddance to ‘moderate’ Latham. You’ve done your Republic no real service with your ‘pragmatic’ stances.

    Oh, and #AbandonTheGOP. They’ve failed miserably.

  • disqus_k2RLNQ6xS3

    It is never a loss when a politician retires. All politicians should “retire after 1 term. OI for one will never ever vote for the incumbent again. every one of them needs to go.

  • Ali Krav

    If you did that, you’d end up with a system completely dominated by lobbyists accountable only to special interests and professional staff accountable to no one but their own ambitions. Not sure that’s what you’re aiming for.

  • disqus_k2RLNQ6xS3

    Not at all.. if every politician only had one term to do get anything done then maby just mabye they would actually do somthing useful. It usually takes the new guy at least a term or too before he is totally corrupted. That way the voters can put the right guy in office. Re-elect- no-one- ever

  • Ali Krav

    You understand this isn’t a theoretical question, right? People actually have tried term limits. This is what’s happened.

    Believe it or not, legislating is difficult and complicated work. It takes time to learn. You give people one term, they’re not going to get stuff done – they’re going to spend half their time learning the equivalent of “Schoolhouse Rock” and trying to get their phones to work, and letting entrenched interests dictate their vote.

  • disqus_k2RLNQ6xS3

    Of course I know this will never happen but is is a better alternative to letting these morons continue to run this country into the ground. As for legistlating being difficult.. that is the problem 1 term not all of them at the same time mind you but 1 term. The less they do the better. since none and I mean none of them have anyone elses best intrests in mind except their own. Nice chatting with you

  • Doug Watson

    Yes, just keep on promoting this philosophy and you’ll be successful in driving 90% of the independents and 30% of the GOP into voting Democrat in the future.

  • Roberto M

    Like the system isn’t already completely dominated by lobbyists accountable only to special interests as we speak!

  • teapartyidiots

    Dropping like flies.

  • teapartyidiots

    It’s an even PVI district.. If they nominate a bagger, they will lose.

  • Rob_Chapman

    K@ whatever, your attitude is good part to blame for the poor state of American politics.

    Try running for office. You will very soon discover that politics requires multiple skills and one has to be good at them to succeed.

    Attitudes like yours are discouraging and keep quality people away.

  • Rob_Chapman

    Ali, a system in which the elected officials are term limited INCREASES the power of bureaucrats and lobbyists as they are then the ones who stay around and know where the bodies are buried.

    The term limit thing is just one of many examples of wrong headed conservative ideas that create gridlock and nothing else.

  • Rob_Chapman

    How about putting your money where your mouth is and take a shot at running thing yourself?

    It is supposed to be government by the people.

    Run for something, serve on a board, or help someone do those things.

    Show us how it should be done K2.

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