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Latham, an establishment Republican close to Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerTrump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery One year later, neither party can get past last year's election MORE (R-Ohio), would have been a formidable general election candidate for the seat currently held by retiring Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinThe Hill's 12:30 Report Distance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday Grassley challenger no stranger to defying odds MORE (D-Iowa) — he's a proven campaigner and a strong fundraiser. But he faced the daunting prospect of running against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a Tea Party favorite who is moving towards a run.

Polls show that Latham would have had a strong chance against Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce BraleyOPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward Trump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer MORE (D-Iowa), Democrats' early front-runner — but also show that King would have had a big early lead in the GOP primary.