Last week I sagely predicted that the Republican field for the 2012 Senate race here in Iowa would take longer to sort out. Some rubbish explanation about the personalities involved would leading to a more protracted process. So today comes the announcement from Rep. Tom Latham that he's declining to challenge Rep. Steve King; and technically speaking, a week is a more protracted process. I don't completely buy Latham's explanation offered for not running in this report, but I'm guessing he just wasn't in the mood to fight a bloody primary battle that could have brought his Congressional career to a close. While this doesn't clear the field entirely for King, his nomination sure looks a lot more likely.
I for one was hoping that we'd see something of an invisible primary winnow both the fields down over a period of several months, offering us an opportunity to see party machinations as they triangulated on a preferred candidate. Given King's penchant for saying rather controversial things, like his comparing legal immigrants to dogs, I didn't think the Republican field wouldn't collapse so quickly. Rove's group weighing in certainly suggested they wouldn't. While the quick winnowing of both party fields was probably not the result of a series of high stake games of rock, paper, scissors, my guess is the Iowa sized invisible primary never really took shape. I still think it was a nifty theory, but unless some reporting teases out invisible primary-ish goings on behind the scenes, it never really came to pass.