Christie Vilsack Launches Exploratory House Bid Against Steve King

Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack, the wife of former governor and current Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, has announced that she is officially exploring a run for Congress — against the Republican loose cannon Rep. Steve King.

The Des Moines Register reports:

“It’s important to listen to Iowa families about the issues they want addressed in Congress,” Christie Vilsack said in a statement. “Hearing directly from citizens about their concerns and ideas is very important to me. Too often in campaigns, it’s the other way around.”

Her “Christie Vilsack for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District” website, with a V logo, invites people to give her a headstart on fundraising “as I consider running.”

This race should be pretty attention-grabbing, as it pits King against the wife of an actual high-ranking Obama administration official, and from the Department of Agriculture no less. King is known for such antics as declaring that President Obama “has demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race — on the side that favors the black person,” and calling for revolution in the streets of Washington in March 2010, order to shut down Congress and stop it from passing health care reform.

King has also called for numerous investigations of the Obama administration — including a recent settlement by the Vilsack’s Department of Agriculture for past discrimination against African-American farmers, which King said amounted to “slavery reparations.”

However, the Des Moines Register notes, this is also the most Republican-leaning district out of the four seats in this perennial swing state, which was reduced from five districts to four in this latest round of redistricting. As such, King will start out as at least a slight favorite, though a lot of money could potentially come into the race.

According to district information released by the National Republican Congressional Committee, the new district voted 50.2% for John McCain in 2008, and voted 59.4% for Gov. Terry Branstad in the Republican wave of 2010.

The Vilsacks are also moving to Ames, Iowa, in order to live in the district. Christie Vilsack had reportedly been considering a run in her home area in the Second District, which was left without an incumbent after redistricting. However, Rep. Dave Loebsack (D), whose home was drawn into the First District of fellow Dem Rep. Bruce Braley, announced that he was moving into the new Second District, which includes much of the area he had previously been representing.