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Latham, an establishment Republican close to Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJim Jordan as Speaker is change America needs to move forward Paul Ryan’s political purgatory Republicans fear retribution for joining immigration revolt MORE (R-Ohio), would have been a formidable general election candidate for the seat currently held by retiring Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinDem Senator open to bid from the left in 2020 Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Trump should require federal contractors to follow the law 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 Lowell 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.