U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said Saturday he sees a "path to victory" should he run for Senate next year, adding that he's close to a decision.

King was the featured speaker at the Scott County Republican Party's Lincoln Club fundraiser. The congressman is one of a handful of Republicans in the state who are considering bids for the Senate seat to be vacated next year by the retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

King, who is in his sixth term representing western Iowa, said he had polled the state and had three intensive meetings over the past 10 days or so to discuss his prospects.

"Now, I can tell you that I can see a path to victory that I couldn't see a week or a little more ago," he told a roomful of Republicans at the Red Crow Grille in Bettendorf.

The congressman said a Republican would face a "slight uphill" climb to victory but it could be done. He added "the timing of a decision" is "close," although he didn't say when it might come.

King spoke for more than an hour and didn't bring up the possible Senate candidacy until 30 minutes in.

After he did, he got some encouragement from the audience. One man told him he would make a "terrific senator." Another, Roger Leese, said afterward that King offers a "practical, common-sense approach."

"I think he is open and flexible, but I also think he's very principled," Leese said.

Otherwise, King gave a wide-ranging critique of the Obama administration and Democratic policies during his remarks, as well as his opinion that the new health care law, while only months away from being fully implemented, still can be repealed.

He echoed insurance industry warnings that people, particularly younger Americans, would experience significant premium increases.

"If they hit all at once, we do have a political resistance tsunami that might rise up and push back," he said.

Supporters of the law say those "rate shocks" won't occur.

King also gave his view of how Republicans fell short in last year's presidential election.

He said the Obama campaign went beyond jobs and the economy to lure voters.

"Whatever it was that would move votes of people that are willing to listen to the siren song of 'somebody else is going to pay for your lifestyle,' they lined them up to vote for Barack Obama," he said. "They did an excellent turnout job of that, and that was the difference."

That's a view that many conservatives voiced in the aftermath of the 2012 election.

King has been critical of the Republican National Committee's post-election analysis, arguing it is putting expediency ahead of principle.

He said Saturday that Republicans need to embrace the "full spectrum of our conservatism."

"We can multi-task," he said.


I'm the city editor at the Quad-City Times. You can reach me at dbowerman@qctimes.com or 563-383-2450.