For hundreds of candidates around the country, Tuesday's primary was the end of a long nominating process. In one battleground House district in Iowa, though, the fight for the Republican nomination there is starting over now that the votes have been counted.
No Republican candidate got 35 percent of the vote in the primary to succeed Rep. Tom Latham, an Iowa Republican retiring from Congress at the end of the year. That means local activists will choose the nominee at a convention on June 21, an unpredictable setting that Democrats say will drive the eventual nominee to the right — but one where former state GOP Chairman Matt Strawn says delegates could give the edge to a moderate.
All the campaigns have likely been "literally running two concurrent campaign strategies" in order to prepare for a convention, Strawn said. Leading up to the primary, candidates went on TV to get their names out to average voters, but they also sent mailers to delegates and met with them in person, said John Maxwell, a consultant to candidate Monte Shaw's campaign.
And the top Republican in the state has spent effort shaping that convention electorate over the past year. Strawn said a recent push by GOP Gov. Terry Branstad to fill the state party with establishment Republicans over tea partiers gives moderates an advantage compared with recent years, defying the stereotype of activist-dominated conventions. That could give someone like Shaw, an Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive who emphasized pragmatism during the campaign and said he would have voted to raise the debt ceiling, an advantage over his situation in the regular primary, in which he finished fourth.