Iowa: House Democrats Talk to Ex-State Senator About Latham Challenge

Democrats are talking up a new candidate to challenge Rep. Tom Latham (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats hope former state Sen. Staci Appel will challenge GOP Rep. Tom Latham of Iowa this cycle, after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee met with her recently in Washington, D.C., to discuss the race, according to a Democratic operative with knowledge of the encounter.

Appel, a former stock broker and one-term state senator from rural Ackworth, Iowa, is the wife of Iowa Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel.

Democrats view the 3rd District as one of their best pick-up opportunities of 2014. Last year, President Barack Obama carried the Des Moines-based seat. At the same time, Latham defeated then-Rep. Leonard L. Boswell, D-Iowa, there by nearly 9 points.

If Appel runs — and the source stressed that her candidacy is not a done deal — she will have company in a Democratic primary. Businessman Mike Sherzan announced his campaign for the seat last month, after the DCCC feted him during the presidential inauguration in January. Appel served in the state Senate from 2007 until 2011. She could not be reached for comment.

Latham is a strong fundraiser, thanks in part to his close friendship with Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio.

Latham considered running for Iowa's open Senate seat earlier this year, but in late February, he announced he could not "in good conscience launch a two-year statewide campaign that will detract from the commitment I made to the people who elected me."