With the retirement of Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), in theory the Republicans have a good chance to pick up a Senate seat in this swing state. But to win the seat, they need a candidate. One by one, all their plausible candidates are dropping out of contention. Several weeks ago, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) said she wouldn't run. Now Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey is out. The top two Republican representatives, Tom Latham and Steve King, are both out now as well. The Democrats would loved to have run against King, who once said: "I've never heard of a girl getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest." You can just imagine the ads: the Democrats find somebody who owns a store in Des Moines that sells hearing aids. They run a clip of King talking about rape and then the store owner cuts in and says: "Steve is more than welcome at Smith's Hearing Aids, where we can help him hear better." The bottom line is that the Republicans can't seem to find a first-tier candidate.
In contrast, the Democrats have already settled on Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), who is unopposed and busy raising money. Unless the Republicans can pull a rabbit out of the hat, the Democrats are probably favored to hang onto this open seat.