Iowa Senate candidate to run for Latham's House seat instead

David Young, a former staffer to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), has dropped out of the Iowa Senate race and will run for Rep. Tom Latham’s (R) House seat instead.

Young told the Des Moines Register he had initially been interested in the 3rd District race after he previously thought Latham would run for the Senate seat left open by Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D) retirement. When Latham opted out of that race, Young decided to launch a bid for Senate instead.

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But the congressman announced his surprise retirement mid-December, boosting Democrats’ hopes of picking up the district and inspiring Young’s change of plans.

“I announced for the Senate with the goal of working for Iowans in Congress, and I can still do that in the House of Representatives,” Young told the Register.

Young will likely face a crowded primary for the seat. Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) hinted at a run in a Facebook post on Thursday, saying he’ll make “an important and exciting announcement about the race” next week.

Iowa state Sen. Brad Zaun (R), the 2010 GOP nominee, is expected to run. State Sens. Jake Chapman (R) and Charles Schneider (R) and state Rep. Rob Taylor (R) are also mulling bids.

Young’s exit from the GOP primary for Senate is somewhat of a boon for Republicans, who are looking at the seat as a long-shot pickup opportunity.

The party is facing a multiple-candidate primary fight that could send the nominating contest to a statewide convention, if no candidate can draw more than 35 percent of the vote.

Such a convention would give Democrats added time to campaign uncontested, and could nominate a far-right candidate, which most observers believe would make it more difficult for the party to play in the general election, where the GOP candidate is expected to face Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley.