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Latham, an establishment Republican close to Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerBoehner: 'Thank God' I wasn't in the middle of election Ryan delays committee assignments until 2017 Lobbying World MORE (R-Ohio), would have been a formidable general election candidate for the seat currently held by retiring Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinGrassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream Do candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? 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 BraleyTrump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer Criminal sentencing bill tests McConnell-Grassley relationship Trump's VP list shrinks MORE (D-Iowa), Democrats' early front-runner — but also show that King would have had a big early lead in the GOP primary.