Wednesday, June 04, 2008

U.S. Senate Race Appears To Go To Young Unknown

A young political newcomer appears to have won the U.S. Senate Republican primary in Iowa, the political undercard of the night, and now has a chance to face heavyweight Tom Harkin in November.

The Associated Press is reporting that with all but one of the state's precincts in, Christopher Reed, a 36-year-old businessman from Marion, had about 35.29 percent of the vote last night. Former Iowa legislator George Eichhorn had about 34.71 percent. Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje had about 30 percent.

Because of the close race there could be a recount.

Should Reed remain on top he would face a daunting task as the newcomer. With no fund-raising filing he would be reaching to knock off Democrat Harkin who has a nearly $4 million war chest and a recently minted Farm Bill on his resume as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Reed has accused Harkin of "fumbling" on the farm bill -- which even conservative U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, ended up supporting.

"Washington is broken and we cannot fix it by sending the same people back," Reed told Iowa Independent.

All three of the Republican candidates were largely unknown, making it fair to wonder if some of Reed's success Tuesday stemmed from the simple fact that his name is the least ethnic and clumsy of the three.

But as a Navy veteran with strong views on abortion and immigration, Reed had the credentials for a GOP primary.

He told Iowa Independent that he is an "opponent" of Planned Parenthood.

And Reed had strong words for illegal immigrants.

"Coming into our country illegally is breaking the law," Reed said. "We need to send them back where they came and they need to get in line."

Without an experienced opponent with name recognition, Harkin, seeking his fifth term, will be free to assist other campaigns and perhaps dedicate more of his time and resources to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama here -- as well as working for other candidates downticket.

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