Vilsack has been weighing a congressional bid for a while, but could not make a final decision until the state's redistricting was finalized this week. But with Rep. Tom Latham
(R) announcing last week he would move to the new Third District to run against Rep. Leonard Boswell
(D), and Rep. Dave Loebsack
(D) moving to run in the new 2nd District, Vilsack decided her best was against a Republican, rather than challenging a Democratic incumbent in a primary.
Vilsack, a teacher and librarian, has never run for elective office herself, but she has been a fixture in the state for decades alongside her husband. Tom Vilsack
served as governor of the state between 1999 and 2007 and now serves in the Obama cabinet as Agriculture secretary.
Republicans have already been going after Vilsack, even before she announces. Gov. Terry Branstad
(R) said earlier this week said
the Southeast Iowa native would be "a fish out of water" in the new Northwest Iowa district.
National Republicans were quick to nationalize the race, pointing out that King has represented nearly half of the district, which voted for McCain in the 2008 election, and where Branstad won easily last year with 59 percent of the vote.
"Iowa voters understand that sending Vilsack to Washington will only result in more debt and a vote to try to put Nancy Pelosi back in the Speaker's Chair," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Andrea Bozek
But Vilsack's husband voiced unwavering confidence
in her abilities earlier this week, reportedly telling Democratic state senators that if she does run, it would be a "holy war."
Minutes after Vilsack's announcement hit, the anti-tax Club for Growth was already up with a statement accusing her of supporting a "fatwah" against King.
"Before Christie Vilsack has her husband issue a fatwah against Steve King, she should know that Steve King has an excellent record in Congress on the issues that the Club for Growth cares about," Club President Chris Chocola said in a statement.