Braley announced early that he would leave the 1st District to seek Harkin’s seat.
• State Sen. Jack Whitver, a former starter on Iowa State University’s football team.
These Republicans could run in the 4th District:
• State Rep. Chip Baltimore, who one Republican operative said had met with the National Republican Congressional Committee before King declined a Senate bid.
• State Sen. Bill Anderson, a former King and Grassley staffer who was also planning to run had King sought the Senate seat.
• State Sen. Randy Feenstra, who is from the most conservative part of the district.
On the Democratic side, operatives said former governor and current Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack might eye Grassley’s seat in 2016, regardless of whether the senator tries for another term.
Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, was also mentioned as a potential candidate for Senate if Grassley leaves. Whenever Loebsack leaves the 2nd District, Democrats described former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack as an obvious contender for his seat.
Vilsack unsuccessfully challenged King in the redrawn 4th District last cycle, but she hails from the 2nd District. Operatives said she could clear a primary field if she were to decide to run.
Democratic operatives also touted former state Sen. Staci Appel in the 3rd District.
In any case, Democrats hope the women on their bench ascend to Congress either this cycle or next.
“We’ve got this horrendous record of not electing a woman as governor or in Congress,” said Sue Dvorsky, former chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party. “It’s only us and Mississippi who hold that distinction, and it’s disturbing for us on multiple levels.”
Farm Team is a state-by-state look at the up-and-coming politicos who may eventually run for Congress. The column runs on Thursdays.