Iowa Gov. Would ‘Wholeheartedly Support’ Steve King If He Becomes GOP Senate Candidate

By Patrick Burke | February 21, 2013 | 10:05 AM EST

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) ( Starr)

( - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) said he will “wholeheartedly support” Rep. Steve King, if King becomes Iowa’s Republican nominee for Senate in 2014.

In an email exchange with Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht, asked, “If Rep. King decides to run for Senate in 2014, will Gov. Branstad support him?”

Albrecht responded, “The governor will support the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate. If it is Steve King, he will wholeheartedly support him. If it is a different candidate, that individual will have the governor's full support as well.”

Albrecht added that Branstad “will work very hard” to make sure Iowa elects a Republican senator to fill the seat of retiring Democrat Tom Harkin.

“Gov. Branstad understands what a great opportunity this is for Iowa to have a Republican senator, and will work very hard to ensure victory up and down the ticket in November of 2014,” he said.

King’s candidacy has prompted concern from the Karl Rove-backed Conservative Victory Project.

On Feb 2, the New York Times reported that Steven Law, President of American Crossroads who is overseeing the Conservative Victory Project, expressed concerns about King running for Senate.

“We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Law said. “This is an example of candidate discipline and how it would play in a general election. All of the things he’s said are going to be hung around his neck.”

In response, King sent out a message to supporters, saying in part, “Nobody can bully me out of running for the U.S. Senate, not even Karl Rove and his hefty war chest.”

When asked by whether Gov. Branstad believes King is being bullied by the Conservative Victory Project, Albrecht reiterated Branstad’s desire that the “Republican grassroots” in Iowa pick their candidate for Senate.

“Gov. Branstad believes the nominee should be decided by the Republican grassroots in Iowa and does not believe it is helpful for any outside group to attempt to alter the wishes of our grassroots” Albrecht told