Iowa secretary of State announces bid for Latham's House seat

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) will run for retiring Rep. Tom Latham's (R-Iowa) seat.

"Fighting for the people of Iowa in the State Capitol has been an honor, but Washington is so broken I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch as my children’s future is mortgaged to pay for reckless policies today. That's why I've decided to run for Iowa's Third Congressional District," he posted on his Facebook page Thursday afternoon.

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Schultz could be a formidable candidate in the race, especially in the primary. He's relatively well-known and has close ties to the state's large population of religious conservative activists. He also has close ties with former Sen. Rick Santorum's (R-Pa.) Iowa organization, having been the only statewide elected official who backed Santorum's 2012 presidential bid.

But some Republicans worry he might not be the strongest general election candidate in a district President Obama carried by a narrow margin in both 2008 and 2012. Schultz's ties to religious conservatives could alienate the centrist suburban swing voters in the district, and he's not known as a strong fundraiser.

Schultz is the latest entrant into what could be a crowded Republican field. David Young (R), a former chief of staff for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), recently dropped his Senate bid to run for the seat, and a number of other local Republicans are mulling a bid. If no candidate gets 35 percent in a primary, Republicans pick their nominee in a convention, which often gets dominated by conservative activists.

On the Democratic side, former Iowa state Sen. Staci Appel was already running against Latham, and other Democrats might run as well.

The seat is a top pick-up opportunity for Democrats now that Latham is retiring. The veteran lawmaker announced he wouldn't seek reelection in mid-December.